A Denver Home Companion | smudge sticks

My sage plants –who have seemed to play dead in past seasons– decided to go crazy this year! So Robin and Lynn from RL Linden & Co (you know, the awesome plant ladies who make amazing products and we all absolutely adore) came over to show me what I could do with them. I was super stoked they were up for doing this with me bc they’re currently prepping for their  Autumn Witch & Bitch class they hold in collaboration with the lovely Shae from DRAM Apothecary. The focus this session is fire and they’ll be teaching a more in-depth look at smudging traditions.

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden dram apothecary

In my yard I have Russian Sage with flowers, Silver Sage, and Lavender. We decided to use these plants to make smudge sticks. I have used smudge sticks of sage in the past to clear the air: lighting it I slowly and prayfully take it around the house and the corners of the rooms to refresh the stale air both literally and spiritually. I did this a lot when I was readying for Harriet’s arrival. And I recently did it when I had uneasy exchange with a stranger who was in my home to clean my couch. For me, it is a reset button of the energies in the home; making space for the good vibes I want to be surrounding my family.

 A Denver Home Companion | smudge sticks

I am not Native American and I understand I am not necessarily using smudge-sticks (not a Native American term) in the original way. Using the spirit of the tradition I must say here that I AM appropriating it for my use and do not claim to be adhering strictly to any historical cultural rituals. I mean not to offend and do believe strongly we all have a lot to learn from other cultures and spiritual practices. Being a Christian, I find that smudging my home –as well as meditating and celebrating new and full moons, among other non-Christian practices– has led me to a much deeper love of the God I serve of the world He created and all that is in it, as well as a deeper respect for the mysteriousness of the spiritual and mystical realm.

A Denver Home Companion | smudge sticks

Robin and Lynn explained that first, before I begin harvesting the plants, I must give an offering to the ground from which they came. This time with them I gave a couple strands of my hair. When I went out another time, I spread cornmeal around the plants. Breast milk, they said, would also be a very meaningful option. Then, as I cut each stem I said a silent thanks for what I was able to receive. I must say this was my first time talking to plants and I felt humbled and grateful.

A Denver Home Companion | smudge sticks

In addition to my sage and lavender, Robin brought some herbs from her home garden. Clockwise starting from the left and looping in is: || mugwort || silver sage (female) || lemon thyme || lavender || flowering oregano || lemon balm || motherwort || yarrow || spearmint ||

A Denver Home Companion | smudge sticks

We laid them out and got to work. Essentially, you make a thick bundle of one or multiple herbs. I discovered that the smell of flowering oregano is quite heavenly indeed and the aroma that sage leaves on my fingertips is one I want to carry around with me everywhere. You can cut the plants to any length before you bundle or choose to have long bundles. I quickly took the cue from Lynn and Robin that there is no wrong or right way to do it. One thing for sure, it was a beautiful way to slow us all down in the middle of our busy day.I felt so blessed in this moment: crafting this useful and beautiful item while communing with women I greatly admire.

A Denver Home Companion | smudge sticks

Once you have your bundle ready, tie a knot with your string (100% cotton) at the bottom around the stems leaving about 2 inches of loose string. Then tightly wind the string up around to the top of the bundle and then back down, overlapping the wound string, creating a criss-cross-like pattern. When you get back to the bottom, tie this end with the 2 inch loose string. You can choose to trim both ends to make them even, or let the tops frill out more wildly.

A Denver Home Companion | smudge sticks

Once done, I tied more string around the bases and hung them from hooks in my porch to dry. I left them there just a little over one week. If you live in more humid climate (Denver is dry dry dry) then leave them hanging to dry for longer, or find a dry spot inside to either hang or lay them out. If you do lay them out, make sure you turn them throughout the week so that all sides can properly dry out.

A Denver Home Companion | smudge sticks

We made lots! And I’m stoked to be offering one of the smudge sticks we made to one of you readers! In addition to a smudge stick, RL Linden & Co is adding their roll-on Ironwood Signature Perfume Oil to the pot. But wait! There’s more! DRAM Apothecary is also throwing in a tin of DRAM Woodlands Loose Leaf Tea.

Please leave a comment below saying what ceremonies or rituals (traditional or personal) you practice at home to focus yourself or calm yourself or get centered or send out good juju. Want more ways to win?

Like us on Facebook: ADHC || R.L. Linden & Co || DRAM Apothecary.

I’ll pick a winner next Friday!

A Denver Home Companion | r.l. linden ironwood perfume giveaway

oh hi! you remember r.l. linden? they are my new favorite skincare line and they just keep concocting and producing the absolute best products. and they’re from denver! stay tuned for an updated toiletry tuesday on how i use some of their items. but for now, let’s welcome them as new sponsors on A Denver Home Companion! we’re celebrating with a giveaway of their roll-on unisex perfume, ironwood no. 1. this was a collaboration with the denver store ironwood and features the amazing scent of palo santo, which just makes me swoon. so it’s a bonus that my love, jp, likes to wear it (and this says a lot bc he has never worn a scent before).

to be entered to win, please visit r.l. linden and tell me what product you’d be interested in trying. for more entries, share this giveaway, like them on facebook and twitter. and for even MORE entries, like me on facebook! make sure to leave an extra comment for each additional entry. (if you already follow us on other social platforms, that counts too!) i’ll contact the winner this friday, on valentine’s day.

A Denver Home Companion | base coat nail salon denver

base coat is a new nail salon opening up this sunday in the berkeley neighborhood of denver. tran wills, one of the creative minds behind brick & mortar, partnered up with her mother, who has years of experience beautifying nails, to open this sleek, modern, one-of-a-kind nail space. it is founded on the idea that your time spent there should be the most relaxing in your day. sounds pretty good to me!A Denver Home Companion | base coat nail salon denver

in addition to the minimalist space–which oozes calm–base coat only uses nail polishes that are five-free (free of the five most harmful chemicals commonly found in nail polishes). and all of their nail and skin care products used during your treatment have been formylated by local company r.l. linden & co. concoctions include a basil + geranium cuticle soak, lavender + frankincense cuticle oil, petitgrain + lemon enzyme sugar scrub, and a spearmint + bergamot deep moisture foot cream, among other goodies. so it’s pretty darn green for a nail salon and safe for children and expectant mamas like me!

A Denver Home Companion | base coat nail salon denver

tran invited in to experience the magic hands of her experienced nail techs. i was so in awe at the well-designed space and soaked in (literally and figuratively) the relaxing treatments i received. these ladies are good. there are three levels of services for every schedule and budget.

A Denver Home Companion | base coat nail salon denver

there’s an opening party, this saturday, september 14th, from 4-8. stop on by, meet tran and the rest of the gang, sip some champagne and make a future appointment (no services will be offered. this is just to celebrate the opening!). the first 25 to book an appointment will receive a goodie bag!

i’m super pumped to announce the launch of my friends’ new company: R.L Linden & Co. they let me in on their project a little bit ago with testers of their goods. they had me swooning with every spray, swipe, cleanse, sip, sniff of their expertly concocted ecobeauty skin care products. i swear by their toner and am having fun doing further beta testing with them on a deodorant and facial serum. read my interview with robin and lynn below.

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden

1. in your words, what is R.L. Linden & Co?

R.L. Linden & Co is Robin & Lynn. We are a small, local, women-owned company dedicated to crafting lovely plant-based skincare and healing teas.

2. how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?

Combined we have backgrounds in herbalism, nutrition, women’s health and natural skin care; have always made products for ourselves and friends; and are total beauty product junkies. We are inspired to create products that help people feel gorgeous in their own skin, as well as getting to work with our favorite plants.

3. what has the process been like from conception to execution?

We have known each other for about six years now, but started creating and blending together in August of 2012. Around the holidays we decided to do this for real and started our LLC in January. While formulating and deciding on what products to offer first, we took business classes together and sent out beta tester product samples to gather feedback. The official launch of our first three products is on August 2nd; we can’t believe it’s already been a year!

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden

4. has creating/developing/launching this been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been?

We both had experience with start-ups in the past, so had a good idea of what to expect. Because we are committed to bringing our vision to fruition, and are so passionate about what we do, it makes the hard work totally worth it.

Of course we’ve had fairly minor challenges that are common to new businesses: nailing down our aesthetic, sourcing beautiful eco-friendly packaging, and definitely funding. Our biggest challenge, honestly, is more personal. With five kiddos between us, scheduling our work time with family time has proven to be a difficult transition.

5. tell us about other collaborators/helpers in the shop/brand?

Right now it’s just the two of us in the business, but we’ve been super lucky and really grateful for all the support that we’ve gotten. Blogs/Social Media/Product Lines like A Denver Home CompanionSeed to SerumRebecca CascianoGreen Beauty BunnyOne Love Organics and Beauty Bets have really helped to get the word out before our products were even available. It’s really humbling to be embraced this way.

6. who is helping you w branding/website development?

A huge thank you to Lynn’s husband, Jonathan Till, who did a beautiful job designing our logo and labels. Right now we have our website on VIRB and Lynn has set everything up so far, but we will likely enlist his creative services more as we grow.

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden

7. where can you be found?

As of August 2nd, we will be available locally at Brick & Mortar General Store, whom we adore, and through our online store at www.lindenbeauty.com. also twitter || facebook || pinterest

8. what new/other/different businesses would you like to see in denver?

That’s pretty hard. Denver is totally rocking it right now.

9. what are your favorite shops in denver? food/restaurants? neighborhoods?

Lynn- A Small Print ShopBeet & YarrowIronwoodFancy Tiger (both stores). Udi’s off of Colfax is yummy and walking distance from us and True Food Kitchen is great despite it’s location. City Park, Baker, RiNo

Robin- Tallulah JonesKismet. I always get a great meal at The Kitchen and my favorite salad is the Macho Salad at Cherry Creek Grill. I love spending time in LoHi and City Park.

they launch friday, august 2, and are going to celebrating by participating in a wonderful gathering at our mutual friend that evening along with brick & mortar, ollie’s vintage, and other awesome small denver business companies). look at the flier below and keep scrolling for a giveaway!

A Denver Home Companion | rl linden

robin and lynn are generously giving a bundle of one of each of their products to one lucky reader of A Denver Home Companion! just leave a comment below saying what daily beauty product you cannot live without. you can gain extra entries by sharing this giveaway on twitter and/or facebook, and also by following R.L. Linden & CO on facebook, pinterest, and/or twitter. one extra entry per share or follow! that’s a lot of chances! just make sure you comment back here for everything you do so it’s sure to be counted. the giveaway winner will be announced in a blog post on august 16. 

this week’s contributor is lynn till. lynn is a plant nerd. and along w her friend, robin, she’s about to launch a company, linden beauty, that creates whole-plant-based skincare products. i need them to launch soon as they make the most incredible facial toner, serum, and lip balm. as a beta tester, i couldn’t get over the gorgeous and natural scents of their offerings — as well as the efficacy of them! you’ll be sure to hear more about linden beauty from me as they get ready to open up their online shop and start carrying their stuff in other denver stores.
A Denver Home Companion | lynn till linden beauty
After living in the Baker neighborhood of Denver for five years, our family moved to the City Park West area earlier this year. We moved from a late 1800s small, victorian urban homestead to a new industrial eco-friendly 2 bedroom apartment, it’s been a big and mostly positive transition. I’m now able to walk my oldest son, who’s in 4th grade, to school, which is hands down my favorite thing about our new place. We drive far less, are an easy walk away from the Denver Zoo, and have two full bathrooms now — which is a huge perk for this mama of three messy boys.

Yet I do miss having a chunk of earth to get my hands dirty in. Our chickens joined a friend’s flock when we moved. We still get their eggs, but I miss my early morning walks in the garden while they pecked and clucked around me. I miss seeing all my herbs popping back up in the spring. I miss carefully collecting from the stinging nettles patch to make our favorite bright green soup. And I miss prepping the raised beds for veggies. Luckily, the patio at our new place will work great for container gardening. Plus, the city is teeming with lovely little plants popping up around every corner: in side walk cracks and up and down the alleys. It makes for fun discoveries during our daily walks. I listed some my favorite springtime plants and their uses below. If you go urban foraging just make sure you know for sure what you are collecting, use common sense, stay away from places that might have been sprayed with chemicals and those that are in high dog traffic areas…and most importantly, have fun!

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) This much maligned weed is a true healing powerhouse, containing more vitamin A than carrots, plus vitamins B, C, D, choline, and inulin. The whole plant, root, leaves and flower are edible and considered medicinal and packed with antioxidants. Dandelion leaf tea is a cleansing and non-potassium depleting diuretic, making it my go to tea for cycle related break-outs and bloating. Plus the leaves make a lovely, slightly bitter addition to any salad and are seriously amazing sautéed w/ a bit of garlic. The flowers can be made into wine, jelly and can even be dipped in batter and fried up for dandelion breakfast fritters!

 Sweet Violet  (Viola odorata) I look forward to the delicacy of eating sweet violet flowers every spring. The aroma is to die for! All you need to do to candy them is paint their petals with egg white, coat with super fine sugar and let air dry for three days. Super easy. Their cooling, slightly slippery, fresh leaves can be eaten in salads, taken as a tea to relieve a raw throat, or crushed and rubbed on blemishes.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) If you have ever planted peppermint in your garden you know it has the ability to spread out and take over quickly. It’s also one of the first herbs to pop back up in the spring. Peppermint tea soothes belly aches, is helpful to sip during a cold, and is just plain delicious. I like throwing a handful of fresh mint leaves into the blender with some lime juice, greens, and ice for an energizing mojito like detoxing green drink.

Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) Midwifes know this plant for it’s ability to slow bleeding after birth or during a heavy menstrual cycle and foragers know it because it’s in the mustard family and offers darn yummy, slightly spicy leaves in early spring. Shepherd’s Purse tea may help stimulate and tone the kidneys and urinary tract and helps clear uric acid for the body. This pretty weed has the cutest heart shaped seed pods and I’m such a plant nerd that I even had incorporated them into my wedding bouquet!

If you’d like to learn more about the awesome plants popping up in your neighborhood and how to use them or to share your favorite urban foraging recipe, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!

For additional resources check out these helpful books:

thanks, lynn! i’m definitely gonna go take a look around my yard and neighborhood and on walks for these plants. i’ve never thought this is something i could do myself. also, i am so excited for you and robin and linden beauty.

if you are interested in contributing to A Denver Home Companion, please submit original writing (or ideas!) to emily [at] adenverhomecompanion [dot] com. though i may not be able to publish everything, i certainly consider all of them.