Ooh, my favorite!


Some fun new toys
November 12, 2013, 10:28 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Clean, Drinks, Green, Health

Processed with VSCOcamAs much as I love a fun and sexy ice cube, I of course, can taste the funkiness from the silicone trays. Luckily Andrew found this vintage-style ice cube tray which has been updated with food grade stainless steel (instead of aluminum) and makes yummy ice without any leeched tastes.

Processed with VSCOcamAnd while I’ve never been a straw fanatic, I am very much in love with these  glass straws. So much fun for sodas and cocktails at home, and easily cleaned in the dishwasher.



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



GMO OMG in Seattle
September 26, 2013, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Clean, Compassion, Farmer's Market, Food, Green, Health

GMO OMG

 

Seattle friends, we’re one of a handful of cities that have been selected for screenings of the documentary GMO OMG. Opening tomorrow at the SIFF Film Center in Queen Anne here are the showtimes:  Friday 7:30 | Saturday-Sunday 3:00, 5:15, 7:00 | Monday-Thursday 7:30

A strong turnout in these key cities would mean a wider distribution nationwide. A hot topic here in Washington, for sure, as we’re set to vote on Initiative 522 in November. YES on 522 would be a very important first step in labeling foods that have been genetically modified. My mattress has a mandatory label, why shouldn’t my food.



Stress: there’s an herb for that
September 18, 2013, 10:34 am
Filed under: Clean, Compassion, Green, Health

For the past few weeks I’ve had a series of eerily similar conversations with a whole range of people and friends. The topic is stress, but what’s so poignant about these conversations is that it seems people are suddenly very in-tune with the very specific effects that it’s having on them. Usually we throw stress around as an all-encompassing ailment, but lately I’m hearing talk of specific muscle aches, that anxious knot in your stomach, skin break-outs, difficult menstrual cycles, chronic fatigue, that awful feeling that a meltdown is right around the corner. Whatever the specifics, people are looking for help in dealing with the day.

Andrew referred to it as “industrialized society” the other day and I about had a freaking heart attack; god, what an awful term. But really it’s so spot on. We shouldn’t have to pep talk ourselves before braving the grocery store parking lot or merging into the morning commute, but for many of us it’s part of the daily routine.

While I continue to figure out the best way to deal with the crazy of each day I have found some great help in the form of a root. Here’s the deal:

DRHODI

Rhodiola has been used in Scandinavia, Russia, and Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to lift the mind and body, treat depression and fatigue, and also improve mental function. It grows in extreme cold climates and is wild or harvested by “ethical wild-crafting” where only a small quantity of the root is taken so the plant itself remains healthy and safe.

Rhodiola is a powerful adaptogen – meaning that its use helps to improve the health of our adrendal system which manages our body’s response to stress. Taking Rhodiola is a gentle way to help strengthen our body’s response to stress and also enhance our ability to cope with anxiety and fatigue. Essentially we’re able to help our body “adapt” to specific needs without disrupting other body functions.

The effects will be subtle and slow at first, but take your time and give it a chance to work its way into your system. The effects for me have been undeniable.

rhodiola

Many brands and forms are available. Whether you prefer capsules or tinctures poke around and see if your favorite brand has it on its own, or as an ingredient with other stress-fighting herbs. If you go that route, though, be sure the other ingredients jive with your needs. I have the tincture form above but my favorite is a capsule that contains some other adaptogens and is from a great company that does not use chemical solvents, and has a capsule that is made entirely of plants. You can learn more about it here, and buy the capsules here. And as always, this recommendation is one I truly believe in and I share it as an alternative to other forms of treatment. Consult your doctor with questions, and if it’s not your thing that’s cool too.



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 

 

 



Elderberry Cordial
August 26, 2013, 11:04 am
Filed under: Clean, Farmer's Market, Food, Health

elderberry

I wanted to sneak this recipe in while elderberries are still, somewhat, getable. It’s a fun project and it will make you happy all winter long.

Elderberry cordial used to be a staple in every good housewife’s well-stocked pantry as it’s a powerful part of a cold and flu fighting regimen. As many old-school traditions go, it eventually fell by the side and was replaced with more convenient and immediate methods of cold care.

Last year when I shared my natural medicine cabinet with you, I mentioned my favorite elixir Sambu-Guard. Well this elderberry cordial is precisely that! And while it’s worth every penny of its $17 price tag (and you should certainly add it to your medicine cabinet) it was pretty freakin’ cool to be able to make my own this year.

Elderberry Cordial

We ordered  two large bunches of elderberries from Foraged & Found and picked them up at the University Farmer’s Market. The berries themselves aren’t particularly tasty on their own, so making them into a cordial, with the addition of honey, makes them so, so good.

Remove all of the large stems but don’t worry about the small ones. Place the berries in a large non-corrosive pot and cover with filtered water. Heat gently and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon (one that you won’t mind if it stains). After simmering, gently mash the berries with the back of your wooden spoon.

elderberry2

Let the berry mixture cool and then transfer to an old dish towel or a double-wrapped cheesecloth. You can strain through a colander or gather the ends and tie them to a rack (like our horror movie set-up below). Let strain into a large bowl overnight.

elderberry4

After straining, transfer the liquid back to the pot and bring to a light simmer. Add honey to taste, mix until dissolved, and remove from heat. Pour the cordial into small canning jars. Sterilize them in the oven by lightly screwing on the lids and placing in the oven at 225-degrees. Once the cordial begins to bubble in the jars, turn off the oven, tighten the lids, and let cool.

It was a lot of fun, even over the span of two days, and all things considered it wasn’t much work. Not that I’m looking forward to cold and flu season, but I am excited to pop one of these guys the next time I feel that little tickle in my nose or throat. To use, add a few tablespoons of the cordial to hot water and drink as a tea OR add a splash of rum or rye as a twist on a Toddy.

elderberry3



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



Urban Bee Co. Seattle
July 24, 2013, 11:35 am
Filed under: Clean, Green, Health, My favorite things, Nature, Seattle

urbanbee

I found a great new honey to add to our collection and this one’s really cool. The Urban Bee Co. is a Seattle-based group that cultivates healthy environments for bees and collects honey from small neighborhood apiaries, urban farms, and some backyard hives too. This guy I got is from my ‘hood, right down the way on the Alleycat Acres farm on MLK and Columbia where they have hops, chickens, harvest parties, and workshops. Each hive is free from chemicals, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup, and plastic. The honey is harvested in small batches, never heated or filtered, bottled by hand, and delivered by bike. Hyper-local!

I picked up this bottle (from the fall harvest) at my very fave Sugarpill, but you can order online, or join their CSA.

urbanbee2

There are also great resources available through Urban Bee Co. and their partnership with my other neighbor Stone Soup Gardens. One of the most exciting offerings is help to set up a permaculture bee garden (wish we knew about this before we did all the research on our own). Helping our bees and building community. Great stuff. Makes my heart swell with happiness.



Accessories
April 29, 2013, 4:35 pm
Filed under: Clean, Compassion, Green, Health, Home, Organic

accessories

Apologies for the delay with this final installment of my eco-friendly Earth Week favorites. (The neighbor we were stealing wi-fi from suddenly protected his network. The bastard.)  So here it is, a list of some socially conscious accessories and toys. Some of these are first steps in making an effort at a greener life, but I always look and hope for the next iterations just around the corner.

1.  Beeswax candles  Burning 100% beeswax candles are the best way to add a pure, natural fragrance to a room while also cleaning and purifying the air. Burning beeswax emits negative ions that get rid of odors and toxins (like dusts, molds, pollens, and viruses!) by attracting and destroying positively charged particles. Conventional candles and air fresheners are filled with chemicals, just read the label. While these candles are more expensive than others, they burn longer and much cleaner and have the most beautiful natural fragrance. Definitely worth the investment. We get ours from a local nunnery that makes them all by hand, but they are also available at Brookfarm General store.

2.  Baggu Bags  Always a favorite around here, I love the bright colors and heavy-lifting capacity of these guys. I love that Seattle has banned plastic bags and now charges for paper, so if saving paper wasn’t incentive enough, now there’s a toll to consider. They used to have great mesh produce bags that I still use and love. Since they’re no longer available try something like these.

3.  Powerstrip  Most of our electronics (TVs, laptops, phone chargers continue to pull power even when they’re not in use or powered on. It’s called Phantom Load, and the power leached is HUGE, so much so that when people switch to using a powerstrip they notice huge savings monthly. Simply plug all of your electronics into a single powerstrip and flip the switch to completely power off the flow of electricity.

Eco- Tip: Instead of buying new, try picking up a used one at Goodwill.

4.  Preserve toothbrush  These guys are made of recycled yogurt cups, and once you’re done you can send them back to Preserve to be recycled into plastic lumber for picnic tables and park benches. I’d prefer to move away from plastics completely, but at least these guys are doing something other than sending it to landfills. Send your brush back with the pre-addressed packaging, or save them up and drop them off at your nearest Whole Foods. They’ll send them back for you.

5.  Coyuchi Organic cotton linens  Again, moving away from conventional cotton is better for the environment and for you. Since we use our sheets and bath linens everyday it’s worth investing in some nice organic cotton. We love our Coyuchi’s, and I especially love stealing Andrew’s big bath blanket towels. They are often on sale at One King’s Lane, or check them out at Coyuchi site.

6.  Toyota Prius C  Until last fall I had been driving my first car (a ’98 Honda Civic) for the past 15 years! It’s not that I don’t lust after a sexy sports car, it was just that I am conscious of every mile I drive, and every tank I fill. With some nudging from mom and dad I started looking for a new car and as much as I fantasized about a badass Audi coupe there really was only one car that was truly me, and that was the new Prius C…a slightly sportier version of the classic Prius. Since I’m smaller I like that there are fewer blindspots in this body style. Perfect for scooting around town.  I love my little car, and more importantly I love my gas mileage!



Cleaning
April 25, 2013, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Clean, Compassion, Green, Health, Home

Cleaning

 

These guys aren’t as fun or as sexy as pantry staples or cosmetics, but they are an easy and important way to be kind to the planet. The great things about them is that for the most part they’re easily accessible. Here are some of our favorite cleaners for laundry, dishes, and around the house.

1.  Food grade hydrogen peroxide (3%)  This guy again! It really is one badass all purpose cleaner and disinfectant. Again, must be food grade! Think all the benefits of bleach without the awful smell and toxic properties that are awful for us and aquatic life. It’s kind of mind blowing that this one ingredient can be used as a natural rinse for fruits and veggies, a clean way to disinfect countertops and bathrooms, AND also to purify skin, rinse for a clean mouth, and sanitize cuts and scrapes. All this from an extra oxygen molecule.

2-3.  Ecover Laundry Wash and Dish Tablets  A wonderful, forward thinking company with a great line of eco-friendly products that are quickly biodegradable and made with plant and mineral based ingredients. Their factories are run entirely on green electricity and even the bottles are made of a green plastic created from sugarcane (no use of crude oil). It’s a pretty amazing company, their site is a really interesting read.

4.  Natural wood brushes  No plastic on these guys, so there’s not as much guilt when they finally die and head to the garbage. Wood with sisal or tampico bristles. Lots of other great natural brushes at Brookfarm General Store.

5.  Bon Ami  Truly a good friend. This guy is perfect for scrubbing the tub or a greasy pan. Five simple ingredients. There’s also the original 1886 version which I just learned about.

Tomorrow’s the last day to celebrate Earth Week, so I’ll close out with my favorite accessories for around the house! (Are you enjoying this as much as I am?)




%d bloggers like this: