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.



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 

 

 



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




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