Ooh, my favorite!


Gifts for HER
December 11, 2013, 10:25 am
Filed under: Beauty, Fashion, Gift guide

Me

And finally, here are all of my very favorite things from the past year; perfect for a gal with varied tastes and complex sensibilities. Everything here I know well and use regularly, and each of them brings me great joy. Here goes….

1  Slip-on Chucks  I’ve mentioned them before but they’re so cute and easy. They’ll get so much use, I promise.

2  Champagne coupes  My very favorite drinking vessel. I prefer to buy vintage on Etsy, but they are just as nice new.

3  Gretchen Kelly art  If you’re tired of over-used prints try adding original pieces of artwork. Gretchen’s one-minute pose series is just lovely, and would be such a meaningful gift.

4  Wilder magazine  This lovely quarterly magazine is for anyone fascinated with our natural world. Past issues have included features from gardeners, foragers, farmers, chefs, fashion designers, and artists. A truly eclectic magazine that’s a welcomed departure from mainstream media.

5  Josie Maran eyeshadow  This is a great neutral palette, but the other sets are great too. And as always, it’s formulated free of chemicals.

6 Sorel boots  Stylish all-weather boots? Seriously, these are kinda hot. I love them for our outdoor adventures or for rainy days around town.

7  Alexander Wang tank  I literally lived in these tanks all summer. So incredibly sleek and sexy, they are the perfect closet staple.

8  Burberry London trenchcoat  An investment piece for sure, but probably the most versatile and timeless pieces I own. It’s one of those special garments that make you feel instantly chic, even when paired with slip on Converse. And what gal wouldn’t love a timeless trench under the tree? (One thing we like to do for our gift-giving is to pool resources and all go in on one big piece.)

9  Belvoir Elderflower cordial  We all love elderflower liqueur (think St. Germaine), but this guy is organically grown in the UK and contains no preservatives. It has a beautiful aromatic fragrance and taste that makes it the perfect addition to the barcart. I love a small amount with vodka and soda and a squeeze of lemon.

10  The Flavour Thesaurus book  Less on the prescriptive side and more on the informative and fun, this is the coolest book to have on hand if you’re curious about why pairings work (or don’t). Think peanut butter and chocolate or lamb and mint. I particularly like the section on cheeses.

11  A Martha or four  I know this isn’t an actual gift, but my kooky little chickens have been such a big part of my year and they bring me so much joy…and the most beautiful eggs. It’s not a decision to be made lightly as it’s a huge commitment, but if you’ve got the time and energy, knowing more about your food is priceless. And the entertainment value is better than anything on television. Here’s one of my favorite online sources for chicken info.



Argan Illuminizer
October 29, 2013, 10:12 am
Filed under: Beauty, Clean, Green

argan-illuminizer-P281607

My friend Christine always looks so put together, but one element I’ve always admired is her effortless make-up: flawless, but still so perfectly light and natural. A line we walk everyday, it’s not often you come across someone who truly knows how to properly accentuate…no paintball applications here. It wasn’t until Christine gave me a tip on using a highlighter for just above the cheekbone that I finally got why I was so enamoured with her make-up. It’s the je ne sais quoi of maquillage; that subtle touch that adds so much.

Since I only use a BB cream/tinted moisturizer I needed an equally light highlighter, and I found the perfect one in Josie Maran’s Argan Illuminizer. It offers the most beautiful shimmery (NOT glittery) glow, with a hint of bronze, that’s perfect for day or night. Paired with  Josie’s Creme blush (my fave!) it has the most lovely, dewey shine. Just dot a small amount with your ring finger slightly above a lightly blushed cheek and blend out toward your hairline. A little goes a long, long way so tread lightly.

Formulated WITHOUT the use of phthalates, GMOs, parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances.

Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer, $28



derma e microdermabrasion scrub
September 5, 2013, 11:15 am
Filed under: Beauty, Clean, Green, Health

Picture 2

 

My goal this summer was to go completely make-up free for the season. Like, no face coverage whatsoever. Just a little curl of the lashes, a touch of mascara, and maybe a bright colored lip. But that’s its! And let me tell you, I busted my ass to get my skin to a place where I felt comfortable going naked and in the end it was such a great feeling. I will admit that sometimes it was interesting to hear people’s perception of beauty, and while some people don’t quite get the au naturel look, I don’t get the make-up applied with a paintball gun aesthetic. So there.

One of the key components to my summer sans maquillage was exfoliating, and as much as I love my Clarisonic it does not count as an exfoliator…did you know that? This guy from derma e is an amazing spa-quality product for home that will buff away that dull layer of skin that’s been compromised by the sun and exposure to day-to day pollutants outside. It is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free, and GMO-free. And it gets a very happy score of 2 from the Skindeep Database.

To use: 

Can be used on dry skin, but I prefer wet.

After cleansing, use your ring and middle fingers to gently rub a small amount of scrub in circles around your face for 2 minutes. Rinse. Pat dry.

Continue your routine, (I splash with seaweed water and use a Vitamin C serum) but remember to moisturize well and avoid direct sun immediately after.

derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub | $32 

 

 



Magic Marker
August 14, 2013, 11:14 am
Filed under: Beauty, Clean, Health

Picture 7

A few weeks ago, in this post, I shared my love of beautiful berry lips, but also confessed that I hadn’t yet found the perfect non-toxic lipstick. I am happy to report that since then I have found one and, oh, is it awesome.

This is Josie Maran’s Magic Marker lipstain and it’s everything you’ll need for bright lips. Use it to line your lips and then color in as a long-lasting base to leave as-is or for layering colors. It doesn’t budge or bleed, but it’s not drying either so there’s no patches of color or that white gunky chapstick line (that I always seem to get).

A check at EWG’s Skin Deep Database ranks this guy as a 3, and for lip color that’s pretty darn good.

Josie Maran Magic Marker $21



Polished White
July 23, 2013, 11:26 am
Filed under: Beauty, Fashion

polishedwhiteI’ve tried to go all rainbowy, but my favorite summer color for my digits is an ultra matte white. Sleek and clean, and it goes with everything. (It pairs especially well with this lip color too.)

There are a few quirky things about matte colors and the first is that without a careful application it can look exactly like white out. I have the OPI Alpine Snow, and the texture of the paint is a bit more chalky and thick. It also dries really quickly, so all of this means that it’s easy to see streaks or have an uneven coating. I do two coats and then finish with a clear top coat which helps smooth out any streaks and helps it stay a few days longer. Without it you’ll have chips within a day.

It would probably be best to have it professionally done if you’re a perfectionist, but since I’m not much good at going to get my nails done I am plenty happy with my amateurness.  In spite of the extra care it’s a fun color that will wear through the autumn and winter, but since it looks especially sleek with a nice sun-kissed tan give it a go now.

whiteout(If you’ve ever tried to take a picture of your own hand and nails you’ll understand how ridiculous you feel and how hard it is to get something decent looking. Here’s a quick pic of me and my morning tea, hoping to entice you to try it out.)



HOT Healing Kit
July 1, 2013, 11:25 am
Filed under: Beauty, Drinks, My favorite things, Seattle, Yes please

Hot Healing Kit

Evian brumisateur / 2 Hibiscus tea leaves / 3 Iced tea pitcher / 4 Ice cube trays / 5 no-pull hair ties / 6 comfy bralette (my faves here) / 7 vintage table fan 

I’m not complaining outright but I am pretty damn hot and sticky. Since there’s just no way I’m braving the mobs of Seattleites flocking to whatever shorefront they can find; I have decided, instead, to hide out in my skivvies (hence the little bralette) and douse myself with my very favorite Evian atomizer. If you haven’t experienced the super-fine mist from one of these I can assure you that it alone is worth the price. More than that though your skin will be happy and you will be nice and cool.

Another staple for us has been Hibiscus iced tea: nice and tangy and cooling but also hydrating and a powerful antioxidant. Very good for cleaning the blood and liver, so in a way it’s like turning the sauna-like weather into a spa experience. (Add a little honey for some sweetness.) And finally, we’ve decided to skip the crappy emergency fan and go for a super-sturdy vintage refurb. There’s a bunch on Etsy, but there’s also some vintage-inspired newbies like the guy above.

Here’s hoping you’re staying nice and cool, especially to all my friends braving triple digit temperatures. (Stay hydrated!)

 

 

 

 

 



Berry and Bright
June 24, 2013, 12:18 pm
Filed under: Beauty

BerryBright

Clean, minimal face and eyes and a punch-you-in-the-face pop of color for your pout. This is my jam for summer. So alluring and festive, but also unfussy. (You know, the whole pick one thing to expose.) And since most of these looks are from DVF’s Fall 2013 RTW runway, we can take it into the fall before we go darker.

So for now I’m all about focusing on clean, healthy skin with hot pink, red, or orange lips. Sadly, I have no secret non-toxic/chemical free brands for you to try; I’m just always so disappointed in the lacking richness of their color. But I have a few in the queue so I’ll holler if any are worthy of sharing.

Kiss, kiss.



Skullcap as a sleep aid
May 13, 2013, 10:44 am
Filed under: Beauty, Health

DSKULL

I used to accept my difficulty sleeping as a part of life. My brain just wouldn’t shut off and I would literally lay in bed for hours spinning. I’ve since become a better sleeper, and while I feel that much of it is because I’m dead tired after work and because I am blissfully happy in my little urban farmhouse with Andrew, I also owe much of it to a tincture of Skullcap. 

If you’ve gone the natural route for sleep aid’s I’m sure you’ve tried Valerian and/or Melatonin, and I’m sure those left you less than enthused. Melatonin, especially, made my eyes heavy and tired but did absolutely nothing for restful, extended sleep. It wasn’t until I met Andrew that I found out about the benefits of Skullcap. (Kind of twisted because he is so much of the reason I sleep so well now, even when he sleeps diagonally across the bed.)

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This vintage Disney reference doing it for anyone? Anyone?

Perhaps that greatest thing about Skullcap is that it’s not a sleep aid directly. Mostly it’s a nervine, meaning that it relaxes and calms the central nervous system while also restoring optimal function (neuro-trophorestorative). So more than anything it serves as a wonderful anti-anxiety remedy that can be used anytime of day. (I will often take a few droppers before busy nights at the restaurant.) But when used before bed it simply soothes your nerves and naturally helps you drift into a very relaxing and restful slumber. The only note of caution I will give is that Skullcap before bed makes for some pretty lucid dreams. If you’re not in the best frame of mind I would skip it until you’re in a happier place. 

When I’m feeling especially wound-up I will take two droppers-full 30-minutes before bed. Because I don’t usually add the drops to water I prefer the tincture in glycerine instead of alcohol, but they’re both the same. (The Herb Pharm brand uses organic alcohol.) Available at most health food stores or pharmacies like Pharmaca.

As always, consult with your physician if you are worried about potential allergies or reactions with other medications. 



Health & Beauty
April 24, 2013, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Beauty, Clean, Green, Health

ecohealthbeautyToday I’m sharing some of my faves for eco-friendly health and beauty. Some you may have seen around here before, and others are new and have been secret favorites for a while. My focus for an eco-friendly beauty routine centers around finding products without the use of petrochemicals and toxins that pollute our watersouces, sea life, and our bodies. When I first started this blog I wrote a lot about our water and its sad state. These guys are all water-soluble, toxin-free, and whenever possible I buy in bulk to reduce packaging and materials, and of course recycle or reuse.

1.  Auromere Ayurvedic herbal toothpaste  After some of my go-to natural toothpaste brands sold out to larger corporations I was happy to find Auromere. It actually kicks the ass of any other toothpaste I’d tried with 24 herbal extracts and a fluoride-free formula. Contrary to popular belief, we do not want fluoride in our toothpaste.

2.  Raw Organic Coconut Oil  My lotion for body and face. Be sure to find one that is organic, raw, and cold pressed. Since we also use it for cooking we buy it in bulk from Aunt Patty’s. I keep a small container around the house and refill as needed. I’ve seen some people that whip it into a cream since it’s hard at room temp, but it is an oil after all, and introducing that much air can turn it rancid if you don’t use it fast enough. I prefer to leave it as is.

3.  Baking soda  Baking soda is a great way to naturally whiten your teeth, and it’s quite noticeable, but not in a fake Hollywood sort of way. Brush regularly for a few days and you’ll notice a difference. More than the aesthetics it’s an important addition to brushing because it changes the pH of your mouth to make it less acidic, and ultimately creates a happier environment for your teeth and gums. I keep a small dish in the bathroom and dip my toothbrush (with toothpaste) and brush as usual. Baking soda already in toothpaste does not count. Give this a try and see the difference.

4.  NatraCare Organic tampons  Cotton is one of the most sprayed crops around the globe. We don’t often think of a polluted t-shirt or cotton ball, but the sad truth is that it is. And because of this, organic feminine hygiene products are so important. NatraCare is a wonderful brand at the forefront of women’s and environmental health; their products are all chlorine-free, biodegradable, and made of 100% organic cotton. No synthetic materials (including plastics, rayon, dyes, or fragrance) are ever used.  I’m sorry, but your girlie bits are an absorbable organ, what goes there is ultimately absorbed and stored in fatty tissues…which is how cancers begin to form. And since a woman can use as many as 11,000 tampons in her lifetime it matters what we use, and it matters what we throw away.

NatraCare is available online or at health stores and Whole Foods. (Trader Joe’s also has an organic version. I don’t know as much about it, but I have used them before.)

5.  John Masters Organics shampoo  I just wrote about this last week, but if you’re looking for a high-end product line to replace your go-to shampoo this is a great one. They do not source products that have been genetically modified or extracted with heat. A majority of the ingredients are organic, and each product has a stamp to show you precisely what percentage is.

6.  Josie Maran creme blush  My favorite blush free of GMOs, pthalates, synthetic fragrance, and petrochemicals. Organic oils make for a soft and creamy texture that’s easy to apply (just a tiny bit is needed), and the natural dewey color is just beautiful. The compact is also biodegrabable.

7.  Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide  This is one of those products that’s sparked fierce debate. I can only imagine it’s because a single product with so many uses frightens people, and because in super concentrated form it is as volatile as bleach. But here, for health and beauty (and of course first-aid) uses, we are using food grade at 3%.  As a mouthwash I take 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and add an equal part of filtered water (stored in a glass container with a loose fitting topper). In addition to the baking soda it’s a great whitener but more importantly it kills harmful bacteria between your teeth and gums.

It’s also great for skin, and we often add some to our baths. It truly is a wondrous ingredient that’s good for the planet and for you too. Tomorrow I’ll share how we use it for cleaning. Be sure to use only food grade! Conventional hydrogen peroxide you find at the drug store has harsh metallic stabilizers that should not even be used topically! It’s difficult to find so you’ll have to search online. We buy in bulk and create our own solutions, but this product is available at Pharmaca and other health stores.

8.  Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap  Vegetable based, biodegradable, and made from organic, fair trade oils, there are no synthetics or preservatives. Read the ingredients…you can actually recognize all nine of them. The scent comes from the oils, so no artificial fragrance has been added. My fave is the almond, but there are many others that are nice too. (I will also occasionally add this into my shampoo rotation.) These guys are available to refill, so buying in bulk is easy and cost-effective, just look for the large jugs. Central Co-op here in Seattle has them, and I believe Whole Foods does also.

9.  Organic sweet almond oil  The best eye makeup remover ever! No need for scary conventional brands when all you need is a single ingredient. We all know how tender the skin around our eyes is, so gently removing make-up with almond oil will help keep us looking younger while removing and moisturizing. Mom buys in bulk and shares with me. It’s also great to use as a massage oil.

* Other favorites not shown here are Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer and Aztec Bentonite Healing Clay.

Tomorrow, some of my favorite eco-friendly cleaning products. Yay!



john masters organics
April 11, 2013, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Beauty, Clean, Health

johnmasters1. lavender rosemary shampoo | 2. zinc & sage shampoo with conditioner | 3. sea mist | 4. lavender & avocado intensive conditioner | 5. pomade | 6. bare shampoo

Far from a product junkie I mostly skip beauty products in exchange for home concoctions like homemade masks or repurposed tea toners, but that doesn’t extend to hair care products (except for a seaweed water rinse!). And while I have no desire to make my own shampoo, I should also admit that I used to find myself missing conventional shampoo: the fun of trying new brands, the ease of shopping, and the excitement of a good hair day that follows when you switch formulas. Squeal! I can totally see why so many people call themselves junkies.

The truth is that most “natural” hair care products either completely suck or are anything but natural. And that combined with my missing gene for hair styling, and my usual hair routine of drying my hair…in the car…with the window rolled down, leaves me needing as much help as I can get from a shampoo and cream rinse. So with all of these things to consider, it’s no wonder why I love the John Masters line of products. Killer products with great ingredients I have all the elements I miss from conventional shampoo but without the cocktail of toxic ingredients.

Check out their strict standards for ingredients:

No sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, DEAs, MEAs, or TEAs | No GMOs | No animal testing | No artificial colors, fragrances, or fillers

And check this out, good stuff to know:

All products must be made with 70-100% organic content |All essential oils used must be steam-distilled and not extracted with propylene glycol – which kills the effect of the oils | All plant oils must be cold pressed, not heat distilled – which kills the therapeutic properties of plant oils | All ingredients must be harvested in an environmentally-friendly manner (wild-crafted)

If I remember correctly (its been so long) the price is comparable or even slightly less than salon products. I alternate between the products here, but also have one less expensive brand in the mix as an attempt to prolong the life of each of them. They last us quite a while (even with long hair) and it’s an easy way to save some dough.

Available at Whole Foods, Pharmaca, or Madison Market for Seattle friends.

[PS – the sea mist is awesome and infinitely better than the one from bumble and bumble!]




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