Ooh, my favorite!


Furoshiki
December 3, 2013, 10:44 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Green, Home

furoshiki

So far I’ve mentioned my adoration for the sensible and clean decor of a Scandinavian Christmas, but now I’m going in the complete opposite direction and adopting a different ideal into our first Christmas at the Treehouse. We have decided to BAN ALL GIFT WRAPPING and go with the Japanese art of the furoshiki, which uses cloth as a wrap for packages (and lots more). I just can’t bear to see all of that garbage at the end of gifts so this new tradition is going to be a pretty badass solution.

Andrew found these tenugui cloths at Best Made and ordered them to use as all-purpose towels in the kitchen and around the house, but before they get too well-loved I’ll be trying my hand at different styles of furoshiki wrapping from this guide here. And once the holidays are done it’ll be great to see these working around the kitchen.

Tenugui cloths | $6



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.



Gen Mai Matcha
September 24, 2013, 11:49 am
Filed under: Drinks, Green, Health

GenMaiMatcha1

I was so excited about this new tea I received yesterday that I wanted to share it with you today. My morning tea routine is everything to me as it sets the tone for the rest of my day; and while I very much love a proper cuppa Matcha with a nice frothy top, there are some mornings (usually any given weekday) where I’m just not up for the whisking ritual (though my Matcha How-To is perfect for the weekend).

If you remember, the anti-cancer properties and overall health benefits of Matcha are off the charts because you’re consuming the (stone ground) leaf and not just the brewed water. I am happy to say that I found a tea with Matcha and Gen Mai, so there is no whisking to be done!

GenMai

This organic blend of teas consists of Dragon Crisp Gen Mai Cha, which is organic Japanese Sencha leaves tossed with toasted rice kernals; and Grade A organic Chinese Tencha that is stone ground into Matcha powder. These two combined have the smooth, creamy texture of matcha with a light grass and toasty flavor.

Serving:  As always, steeping temperature and time are important here. Too hot and the tea will become bitter and upset your tummy.

–  Use 1 teaspoon of tea for each 8 ounces of water.

–  Steep the tea in water between 180-185° for 3 minutes. If I do a second steep I’ll go for 5 minutes.

–  Pour into your favorite cup and sip away.

GenMaiMatcha

A much easier introduction into the world of Matchas this guy will probably even entice you to get a weekend whisking ritual going…there’s just something about that frothy foam. Regardless though, start here and give it a go before you move on to the bigger stuff.

Gen Mai Matcha | Art of Tea |4 ounce pouch (60 cups) $14 



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 

 

 



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.



Head in the sand
July 8, 2013, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Compassion, Farmer's Market, Food, Green, Health

movies
Most nights after, mornings before, and days away from work I have a habit of turning on the TV and finding something completely mindless to watch on Instant Netflix. I don’t want to think because the way I feel I swear it would cause some sort of brain injury. I just want to melt into the couch and watch any given episode of Family Guy for the millionth time.

But, alas, one can only disconnect for so long, and I soon became aware of how empty and uninspiring that habit was making me feel. For the past few months I’ve changed up my routine and I’ve come across some really interesting documentaries that are streaming on Instant now. I’ll admit that I’m not always in the mood to watch a super-intense, angry-making, political-injustice type movie…I just take them so personally and its effects can be hard on me. But when I do find the time and the energy to watch them I always appreciate how my perspective shifts and the decisions I make are that much more informed. Here’s to not being an ostrich!

Queen of the Sun

I desperately want to add bees to our little farm, and as much as I’ve tried to make it work we just don’t have the room next to the chickens. This documentary from 2011 is beautiful and insightful. (I just wish the cover wasn’t so creepy.) With our beloved honey bees at the center of the story there’s also some really great profiles on some forward-thinking (and some wonderfully eccentric) apiarists and permaculture farmers, discussions on the dangers of monocrop culture and pesticide use, and a really interesting segment on commercial bees and the breeding of Queen’s. Complex and I can’t lie, very emotional it’s the type of movie that will change the way you think of bees, swarms, and farming.

The Happy Movie

A glimpse of people and cultures around the world in an attempt to identify what makes us happy. Positive psychology is a real thing and it’s pretty cool. After I saw how a rickshaw runner lives in India, or how a once beautiful woman found happiness after a terrible accident it helped me reevaluate my knee-jerk reactions to the petty injustices of the day. I often need reminding so I have watched this a few times. The story of the people of Okinawa, the highest concentration of the oldest living people on the planet, was particularly inspiring.

Hungry for Change

I have watched this documentary several times, and it’s usually when I need that little kick in the ass to get things back on track with my health and diet. There’s suddenly been a lot of talk on the addictive nature of refined sugar and flour and this will help explain how and why it’s so hard for us to step back. There’s also a ton of great information on natural health and beauty which is one of my very favorite topics. Heal your body from the inside!

HOT COFFEE

EVERYONE knows the story of the hot coffee incident from McDonald’s in the 80’s, but I guarantee that you don’t know the REAL story. It’s heartbreaking and so much more complex than any of us ever knew. This story and many more will change the way you think about “frivolous lawsuits” in our country and the effects of tort reform. It’s a very interesting look at how the hot coffee incident was exploited to ultimately protect corporations and change our justice system at the expense of the average citizen.



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!




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