Delicious Organic Facials

Did you know you can get a facial here in Eau Claire in which all the ingredients are organic? In fact Sakura Skin Spa offers two organic facial product lines. The skin spa was founded in 2013 with the goal of providing “highly educated and passionate skin professionals to help clients achieve their desired skin results safely and effectively.”

Sarah Green, owner, spa director, and licensed aesthetician, explains why she chose to use organic products. “Organic products were always something I wanted to bring in from the beginning. My brother-in-law, Dr. Aaron Arfstrom of Apex Chiropractic, has been a huge influence on my knowledge of how important it is to use products that are good for us and don’t cause more harm.”

Green describes the two main benefits of using organic products: 1) “Many clients who are very sensitive can have reactions to skin care products that have a lot of chemical additives. Organic products give them an option for quality skin care.” 2) “It’s also great for women who are pregnant or nursing and want to use only pure products. They don’t have to sacrifice their skin when going organic or natural.”

Sakura Skin Spa offers two organic product lines: Naturopathica and FarmHouse Fresh Naturals.

Naturopathica Many of this company’s products

Many of this company’s products are certified by Ecocert, which is one of the oldest independent organic certification groups. The review process to receive the Ecocert seal of approval includes scrutiny of sourcing, manufacturing, and packaging. Ecocert looks for products derived from renewable resources that are produced in environmentally friendly ways. Their seal also requires at least 50 percent use of natural ingredients.

Naturopathica seeks to source from local farmers, promotes recycling with all product containers, and is a majority woman-owned company. They test all products for allergy and skin sensitivity, do not use animal testing, and their products are made in the United States. For a full list of what they do not use in their products, go to

Sakura Skin Spa offers several choices of organic facials using the Naturopathica products, including the Pure Results Facial, the Vitamin C15 Brightening Facial, the Soothe and Restore Facial, and even a Men’s Rebalancing Facial. Green says, “Our

Green says, “Our Naturopathica line is purely organic, and their ingredients smell phenomenal as well! They have been some of our most popular facials since we introduced the line in 2014.”

FarmHouse Fresh Naturals

This company has its own farm in Texas and uses some products from other local farms to provide from 90 to 99.6 percent naturally derived ingredients. They are paraben, phthalate, and sulfate free, as well as “cruelty-free,” meaning no animal testing is used for their products. In fact, the company works to rescue all kinds of animals—dogs, bunnies, horses, turtles, and donkeys—at their ranch. Almost all (99 percent) of their products are vegan and gluten free.

FarmHouse Fresh has a broad selection of what they call “Farm to Spa Treatments,” seeking to provide the freshest product possible with reduced irritations, less redness, and “lessened signs of aging.”

Sakura Skin Spa serves up a hearty menu of FarmHouse Fresh organic facials, including Peat Purity Vegetative Calming Facial, Coffee and Cream CoQ10 Complexion Perfection Facial, Wine and Chocolate Me Time Transformative Facial, and the seasonal Perky Pumpkin Radiance Boosting and Firming Facial.

“I would say our FarmHouse Fresh natural facials have really caught our clients’ attention!” Green says. “All of their products smell almost too good to be true! It’s been really fun adding in their awesome products to the spa. With product names like Pumpkin Dirt Mud Mask and Sundae Best Chocolate Mask, which smell as amazing as they sound, who could resist?”

For more information visit them at 4210 Southtowne Drive, Eau Claire, go to, or call 715-514-3548.


POUND Your Way Fit

Pure Fitness 4 You is owned and managed by Brenda Jane Crass, wife and mother of two. “Owning a fitness studio is an amazing opportunity for me to share my love of health and fitness with others and to be a role model,” she says. Why did she decide to start this business? “I wanted to have classes in the area that all fitness levels would be able to do,” she explains. “I love helping people, seeing their progress, and knowing I’m making a difference.” All classes at Pure Fitness 4 You are for all fitness levels as the instructors will always show modifications, regular, and advanced moves, but

Why did she decide to start this business? “I wanted to have classes in the area that all fitness levels would be able to do,” she explains. “I love helping people, seeing their progress, and knowing I’m making a difference.” All classes at Pure Fitness 4 You are for all fitness levels as the instructors will always show modifications, regular, and advanced moves, but Crass adds, “If you ever come to class and have questions about moves, just ask as there are always ways to make the moves work for each individual ability level.”

Crass seeks to make Pure Fitness 4 You stand out in the community. “Pure Fitness 4 You offers unique to-the-area classes and really goes all out with the personal touch of letting our members know we are here! Once you’ve stepped into the doors at Pure Fitness 4 You, you become family!” Crass notes. One example of that uniqueness is the POUND class, which is a group fitness class that is inspired by drumming. It lets you be a part of the music as you are getting a

One example of that uniqueness is the POUND class, which is a group fitness class that is inspired by drumming. It lets you be a part of the music as you are getting a head to-toe workout. Crass assures, “It’s low impact but high intensity, so you’ll burn calories having a blast!” It’s new to the Chippewa Valley and is taking a lot of places, like New York City, by storm. So far there has been a lot of interest in POUND, and Crass says her regulars are addicted to it. She cautions not to worry about an inability to keep to the rhythm, explaining that the instructor keeps you on track and you soon fall in love with being a part of the music and being able to “pound out the day.” Her enthusiasm for this class couldn’t be any greater. “POUND lets you be a rock star!” Exemplifying the welcoming spirit of Pure Fitness 4 You,

She cautions not to worry about an inability to keep to the rhythm, explaining that the instructor keeps you on track and you soon fall in love with being a part of the music and being able to “pound out the day.”

Her enthusiasm for this class couldn’t be any greater. “POUND lets you be a rock star!”

Exemplifying the welcoming spirit of Pure Fitness 4 You, Crass exclaims, “If you are looking for an amazing atmosphere to work out in, Pure Fitness 4 You is it! We make you a part of a family, and everyone will have your back each step of the way.”

For more information, see, call 715-456-1182, or visit them at 1423 South Hastings Way, in Eau Claire.

Photo by Angi Randall Photography.

You Can’t Beat Beets!

As we slog through these winter months, the choices of fresh local vegetables become fewer. But just when you thought all was almost lost, root vegetables come to the rescue, and beets are the star players of the root vegetable team. Whether you kept yours in the garden under special mulch or safely stored in your root cellar, or if you purchase yours at a local winter farmers market or from an organic produce section in your grocery store, you can count on beets to be a great part of a late-winter meal.

Beets have been around for a long time, and I don’t mean the ones you still have from LAST winter! “Beets are an ancient, prehistoric food that grew naturally along coastlines in North Africa, Asia, and Europe. Originally, it was the beet roots that were consumed; the sweet red beet root that most people think of as a ‘beet’ today wasn’t cultivated until the era of ancient Rome.”1

Beets have many health benefits, including that they:

  • Are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying
  • Fight cancer
  • Help lower blood pressure
  • Boost stamina
  • Are chocked full of vitamins and fiber2

Tip: For a vegetable, beets are high in sugar and carbohydrates, so eat in moderation

For a thorough breakdown of nutritional data on beets, go to
A Chef’s Take on Beets
Joey Meicher, chef at The Local Lounge in Eau Claire, offers his insight and inspirations regarding beets.

“Beets are an incredible ingredient available almost the entire year. A fall planting, followed by proper storage in the root cellar (or the bottom drawer of your fridge,) results in one of the few ‘fresh’ vegetables that is still available toward the end of winter. Not only are they almost always available, but they are an incredibly versatile ingredient. Beets can be roasted, boiled, pickled, fermented, juiced, canned, sautéed, or even served raw. I love how they are used in so many different ways across a broad spectrum of cuisines.

“The beet + cheese + nuts combination seems to be a staple at almost every restaurant these days (and for good reason), but there are so many other directions to go with this vegetable. Pickled beets are a fantastic accompaniment to Nordic dishes and flavors (salmon, dill, dense rye breads, and cultured dairy products). Borscht is a name that can be applied to any sour Eastern European soup, but most are made with fermented beets. My favorite beet dish is a chilled soup in which fermented beets are pureed with a light broth and topped with raw cucumber, salted cabbage, sour cream, cilantro, mint, and dill. It is incredibly complex while still remaining vibrant and refreshing.

“One must not forget about the greens either! If you have ever grown beets, you know that the greens often need to be thinned out before the beetroot is mature. This is because beet seeds are actually pods that contain about six separate seeds all trying their best to grow into a big, beautiful beet. The easiest way to handle the excess beet greens is to warm a little onion, garlic, and chili in a lot of olive oil, add the washed (but not dried) greens and a splash of vinegar, than let them cook for a few minutes before piling on toast and topping with a fried egg, grated cheese, and maybe a few pickled beets from last year.”

2. Ibid.

Spring Is a Good Time for Mindfulness

by Ann Brand

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is present-moment awareness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the researcher responsible for bringing mindfulness practice into Western medicine, defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness practice is now part of many disciplines including health care, education, mental health, and business.

Mindfulness practice is a mental training. Using the power of our brain’s plasticity, we can shape our brains in positive ways. The more frequently we practice, the stronger the attention muscles in our brain become. The more we practice paying attention in this particular way, both through formal practice and mindfulness in everyday life, the better able we are to be present.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Mindfulness practice has many benefits. Because of advances in neuroscience, scientists are able to see how mindfulness practices work to change our brain and lead to benefits in physical health, stress reduction, attention, learning and memory, positive emotions, empathy, emotion regulation, and interpersonal relationships. Mindfulness practice can help us manage our stress and bring calm, clarity, and peace into our daily lives.

Why is the changing of seasons a good time to focus on mindfulness?
Any time of year is a wonderful time to cultivate our capacity to be mindful. That said, spring offers us the waking up of nature from the quiet sleep of winter. Nature is always in the present moment, and we can use the warm air on our skin, the singing of the birds, and the budding of the trees as anchors to the present moment. This supports us in the practice of being present and showing up to our life as it unfolds instead of the story in our head we are telling about our life.

Nature can be a helpful support to our mindfulness practice in the spring. Here are five things we can use to help us rest in the present moment:

  1. Feel the warm spring sun on your skin.
  2. Savor the taste of spring harvest from the garden.
  3. Breathe in the smells of spring—snow melting, damp earth, spring flowers.
  4. Listen to the sounds of spring-migrating birds, water flowing, kids playing outside.
  5. Open up our awareness as we walk outside, noticing when we get caught up in our thoughts and bringing our attention back to the sensations in our body as we walk.

Mindfulness practice helps us see that no matter how many times we are distracted from the present moment, we can begin again, just like nature starts over each spring in Wisconsin.


Ann Brand, PhD, is a mindfulness meditation teacher and lecturer at UW–Stout in the School of Education. She teaches mindfulness classes in Eau Claire at The Center and can be reached at

Pet’s Paws for Earth Day Too!

As we celebrate Earth Day this April 22 we honor Mother Earth and look for ways to ensure that she remains healthy for generations to come. We have all been told one of the best ways to do this is to reduce our personal carbon footprint, but did you know that your pet also has a carbon footprint? According to the’s random facts about pets “a medium-sized dog has the same eco-impact as a Toyota Land Cruiser driven 6,000 miles a year, while a cat is equivalent to a Volkswagen Golf, based on the amount of land needed to grow food for each.” Rather surprising is it not? Here are five ways to green-up our world with our pets.

 Get out and walk with your pet.

As we all know, getting out and enjoying the great outdoors is one of the hallmarks of Earth Day. Taking our pets out for a walk is a great way to do this. While you’re out on your walk, consider recycling those plastic grocery store bags to not only pick up your pets waste, but the environmental litter you encounter as well. It only takes a brief moment of time to pick up the waste products other humans leave behind. You’ll not only have a cleaner view on your next walk, but you’ll feel better knowing you helped keep litter from entering the waterways and possibly causing harm to wildlife as well. Don’t have a pet of your own to walk? Consider volunteering at your county’s shelter, or Bob’s House for Dogs, and take a walk with one of the shelter pets that’s longing to share the great outdoors too.

Choose pet- and eco-friendly products.

As you go through your house on the spring cleaning spree, consider using pet and eco-friendly cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. As you purchase your cleaning products, read the labels closely and choose products that are all natural and avoid those with long chemical names that no one can really pronounce. These products are becoming easier to find and more affordable than ever before as consumer’s demand increases. Using these products to clean your home along with rags made from t-shirts greatly decreases the waste produced by using paper towel products.  And, as you clean your closets and sort through the items you no longer need, consider donating your gently used towels, rugs, sheets, blankets, leashes, and even collars to the local shelters as they are often in need of these products. Looking to replace a donated item with something new? Consider purchasing replacement products made from renewable sources such as bamboo, hemp, or other renewable sources such as vegetable based chew bones rather than plastic ones.

Recycle, reuse, reduce.

There are many ways our pets can help us recycle, reuse, and reduce waste.  As I mentioned earlier, using the plastic grocery store bag as a pooper scooper on our walks is an easy choice, but what if we use cloth bags when we purchase our groceries? Consider using biodegradable pet bags, such as BioBags, to pick up the waste on the walk, or ask your non-pet-owning neighbors to save their plastic grocery bags for you to use. What about my cat, you say? Consider the Kitty Scratch Pole made here in the United States from 100 percent recycled cardboard materials for your kitty’s scratching post. It even comes with refillable disks to provide hours of scratching fun. Scooping the cat litter pan daily as recommended? Place the empty cat litter container next to your cat litter pan with a liner in it to make the scooping convenient and reduce the amount of plastic you typically use. Not a fan of the scoopable litter? Consider litter made from renewable sources such as wheat, pine, or recycled paper. My personal favorite is Yesterday’s News litter, which is made from recycled paper.

Try to eliminate purchasing anything in a plastic bottle, but if you have one, it can make a great dog toy. I know my puppy absolutely loves chewing them up after I’ve removed the top and the label, and the recycling center certainly doesn’t care about the teeth marks he leaves behind in them. And, always remember, if the plastic bottles come held together with the plastic rings, take a brief moment to cut each ring (including the handle) with a scissors to prevent harming wildlife should they come into contact with them. Changing the water in your pet’s water bowl? Consider using the “dirty” water to water your plants and/or your compost pile. Finally, one of the easiest, yet most often over-looked ways to reduce waste is to feed your dog and cat a good quality food such as Taste of the Wild. It may be a bit more cost initially, but the savings in both quantity of food consumed and waste produced will pad your wallet in the long run.


Composting is a great way to reduce the overall waste we each produce. There are many ways you can incorporate your pet’s waste products into a composting program and produce amazing fertilizer. You can check out websites such as for local composting sites that accept pet waste. If making compost on your own, be sure to maintain the proper temperature to produce a final product that is safe to use.

Spay, neuter, adopt.

Helping reduce the over-population of pets by spaying, neutering, and adopting your next pet from the shelter can perhaps have the greatest impact for Mother Earth on this Earth Day. It’s a sobering fact to realize that approximately 8 million, yes I said million, pets are euthanized each year as a result of the pet overpopulation in this country alone. Each step we take to reduce this tragic number helps us all breathe a bit easier, and helps Mother Nature smile as we all work together to take care of her children that are already here.