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Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Make it Green"

I just found out about an inititive out of Germany called "Make it Green." Their goal is to have a small part in reducing the carbon footprint by raising awareness of the severe environmental damage caused by carbon emissions. One of their activities is to raise awareness of the carbon emissions resulting from the use of the internet - specifically of blogs. The idea is to point the way to convince the international community to contribute more to protect the environment.

carbon neutral offers and shopping with

They have created "My blog is carbon neutral" buttons so bloggers can demonstrate that they care about the environment and the carbon footprint of their blogs.

Who are they? They are a German based company called kaufDA, which provides advertising brochures of local stores online to help consumers search for specific products and find good deals in their neighborhood. This reduces the amount of brochures printed and so the project helps the environment by reducing unnecessary paper in mailboxes. An American on average receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. This has the same carbon footprint as burning six gallons of gasoline.

How do they actually neutralize your blog's carbon footprint? They are planting trees in cooperation with the Arbor Day Foundation in Plumas National Forest in Northern California. Thousands of wildfires have burned in many national forests over the past ten years and 88.000 acres of Plumas' were destroyed by 2 fires in 2007. For every participating blog, they plant a tree. Bloggers all over the world can help. One blog - one tree.

Why is a German company helping to plant trees in California? They actually plant trees, both in Germany (in the upper Harz region) and in Northern California. The reduction of carbon emissions by planting trees has the same effect, regardless of where in the world the trees are planted.

For more details and to find out how you can participate please go to

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Uses for Olive Oil

Olive oil is a versatile oil that can be used for much more than food. It can be used for body, nails, and hair. I have used it as a body moisturizer, but since I have rather oily hair I've shied away from using much oil on my hair.

Store oils in a dark tinted bottle to prevent oxidization, and store in a dark, cool place. (cool, but not in refrigerator). Olive oil is full of vitamin A & E and polyphenols. It is a rich source of minerals, anti-oxidants, and essential fatty acids.

  • soak nails in a dish of olive oil for 30 min. - massage into hands & cuticles

  • gently massage into face, then wipe off with a warm wash cloth put on damp skin after shower or bath

  • use as a make-up remover

  • use as a shaving oil; it provides excellent lubrication

  • mix with some sea salt for a body scrub

  • use as an all over body moisturiser

  • good for minimizing the appearance of stretch marks

  • use as a deep conditioning treatment for hair. rub into your hair & massage your scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap & wrap with a towel. Leave on for 30 to 60 min, then wash. (I read about this method, several years ago. I tried it one time and would not recommend it if you have a naturally oily scalp and unprocessed hair. Maybe it works for someone with dry or damaged hair. It left me with a greasy mess. Personally I prefer coconut oil or jojoba oil, as they seem to absorb better.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Samy E-sen-cia Styling Mousse Product Review

This past week I've been using E-sen-cia by Samy styling mousse with pomegranate, marshmallow, and yarrow. I don't often use styling products. I tend to have oily hair, and I don't like build up or products that make my hair feel dirty or greasy.

The E-sen-cia line is sulfate free, paraben free, has no artificial colors, vegan, has organic ingredients, and is phthalate free. They are not tested on animals. The styling mousse is 99.1% natural. The essence of pomegranate is supposed to invigorate the scalp and hair. Yarrow provides rich conditioning. Marshmallow adds weightless volume and shine. It also contains other key botanicals & extracts that combine to create a gentle formula that delivers beautiful results with every use.

I used it for casual wear, not for any elaborate styles. At first it feels a little sticky, but after it dries is silky. In general I would recommend it. The smell is not great, but it did make my hair soft, bouncy, and controlled fly-a-ways. It retails for around $6.99. I bought it marked down at Walgreens. I have a feeling Walgreens marked it down because they are not carrying it anymore. It is available for sale on-line at such places as Samy's website and Amazon.
INGREDIENTS: Purified Water, USP, Polysorbate 80, Glycerin, Panthenol (ProVitamin B5), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract**, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Pyrus Cydonia (Quince) Seed Extract, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract, Althaea Officinalis(Marshmallow) Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Root Extract,Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aruantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Fruit Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Butylene Glycol, Polyquaternium- 4, Polyquaternium-7, Polyquaternium-10, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.* Certified Organic Ingredient

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Orglamix Eyeshadow

I just discovered Orglamix eyeshadow. They have some awesome, vibrant colors. I have really fallen for the color selection. It is mineral eyeshadow. They are made without any nano particles, bismuth oxychloride, synthetic dyes, synthectic fragrance, parabens, or petrochemicals. I have not had the chance to try them yet, but there is a review and giveaway over at the Product Reviews Blog. Check out the review and enter the giveway.

Product Reviews

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review - The Georgeously Green Diet Book

A few weeks ago I completed reading the Gorgeously Green Diet Book by Sophie Uliano. The goal of the Gorgeously Green Diet is to help lessen eco-impact and improve health. There is a 6 step pledge to help you define your goals. The author offers 3 different diet plans, to suit different individual needs and personal desires.

I read the book at the perfect time. Last year I made some major changes to my diet. I had been dependent on frozen dinners and fast food. Most of the time I felt exhausted and had little energy. I felt so depleted and knew that something needed to change. I visited a naturopathic doctor, who advised me that I needed to change what I eat. I was never into cooking, and lacked creativity. So this book was a welcome addition to my home, with all the recipes in it.

The are several good points to the book:

  • The author urges the reader to consider the eco-impact of the foods you buy - packaging, chemicals, preservatives, genetically modified ingredients, hormone riddled dairy. Also use re-usable shopping bags. Don't use polystyrene cups or "doggy" boxes for take out. One should also carry a re-usable water bottle.
  • There are tips for cutting down portion sizes.
  • There is a discussion about truth behind labeling. "Natural" doesn't mean much. Label claims such as, "made with whole wheat," "natural," "0 trans fat," and "high in fiber" mean very little. The consumer needs to read the fine print.
  • The book urges the use of certified organic produce, dairy, eggs, and meat. The book gives good, detailed reasons why to choose organic. Also urges buying organic/fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate.
  • Lists certain products & food additives to avoid such as, artificial sweeteners and chemical preservatives.
  • The book promotes cooking from scratch, rather than buying pre-packaged convenience foods. It saves money and is healthier.
  • There are tips for eating out and travelling.
  • List of good foods to stock up on.
  • Tells how to scout out a grocery store.
  • Tips to make your kitchen more energy efficient.
  • The book contains 100+ recipes.
  • There is a chapter on exercise, with instructions for strengthening exercises and yoga poses.
  • discusses supplements
  • There is a chapter on the how to's of starting a garden.
  • There are some good ideas for non-toxic/eco friendly cleaning
  • The book even talks about non-toxic skin care.
I would recommend this book for anyone looking to change their eating habits for the better or anyone looking for some cooking ideas.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Benefits of Bathing

Bathing has many benefits. It seems that people are in too much of a hurry, often quick showers win out over a good old fashioned bath. A 10-20 minute soak in the tub can help you to relax, increase circulation, reduce stiffness, reduce pain, and detox. Cellular fluid gets pushed back into circulation. People suffering from arthritis, chronic pain, edema, varicose veins, constipation, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and asthma can benefit. Adding Epsom salts or bath sea salts can experience added benefits. If you add a couple of drops of essential oil you can get the added help of aromatherapy. Dead sea salts are another option. People have visited the Dead Sea for centuries for the therapeutic properties of it's concentrated minerals.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Avalon Organics

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Cream is a creamy, smooth, and great quality face cream. It is supposed to stimulate collagen and elastin production. It is formulated with the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E, lemon bioflavanoids, melatonin, and white and green teas. Antioxidants perform longer and more effectively when used in combination. It is also enriched with skin smoothing Lipo-Filling Complex. The label promises to energize your complexion with improved circulation, clarity, tone, and texture. It is scented with organic Sweet Orange essential oil.

What I like about it: I like that it is easily absorbed into my skin & doesn't feel greasy. I can wear it under make up. The smell is a nice "perk-me-up" in the morning. It makes my skin feel smooth & soft. It is also inexpensive,which is an added bonus.

no parabens
no harsh preservatives
no artificial colors
no synthetic fragrance
no animal testing
100%vegetarian ingredients
ph balanced

Get some beauty sleep

Sleep is important, unfortunately many people don't get enough. Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. During sleep your body is busy repairing itself. If you don't sleep enough you will look tired and worn out. Loss of sleep affects your ability to concentrate and think clearly, lowers your body's ability to fight illness, and increases your risk for depression.
Here are some tips:

  • Always wash your face and remove make-up before bed.

  • Apply face cream with antioxidants, like vitamin C & E before going to bed.

  • Sleep on your back to prevent wrinkles.

  • If you have a hard time going to sleep listen to white noise.

  • Don't watch TV right before bed.

  • The temperature of your bedroom shouldn't be higher than 70F.

  • Avoid caffeine

  • Avoid alcohol

  • Don't drink fluids withing 2 hours before bed.

  • Take a hot bath before bed.

  • Establish bedtime routine.

  • Exercise every day (but not right before bed)

  • Avoid large meals right before bed.

    for more sleep tips check out
    Dr. Michael Breus, Phd. - sign up for his free monthly newsletter & get a free sleep starter kit that has a 12 min relaxation mp3 & downloadable sleep guide or read his book Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dangers in your jewelry?

I just read an AP article that came out this morning about Cadmium being found in jewelry. A less than a month ago there was an article about Cadmium being found in children's jewelry manufactured in China. Now a California environmental group has found high levels of the toxic metal in adult necklaces and bracelets through recent testing. The jewelry was bought at 3 leading retailers: Saks Fifth Avenue, Aeropostale, and Catherines. One necklace was purchased from Saks 5th Avenue for $69.99. One would think that paying that amount for costume jewelry, that it would be a safe product. The pieces were made overseas, in places like China and India. Saks & Catherines have pulled items that were involved in the testing that came back with high levels.

Apparently due to the uproar over the use of lead, cadmium is being substituted. Cadmium is even more dangerous than lead. Cadmium is a known carcinogen, particularly when it is inhaled in a factory or other workplace. Like lead, cadmium can impede brain development and cause learning disabilities in children. It also can cause serious problems with kidneys and bones. The exact risks to adults aren't clear because typically the metal takes long-term exposure to cause the diseases. It has been more of a concern with children because of the risk of sucking or biting on the item containing cadmium. Adults normally wouldn't suck on a piece of jewelry, but by handling the item and then eating they can ingest the poison.

The Center for Environmental Health said it would seek a ban on cadmium in all jewelry. There is currently no limit under federal law on cadmium in jewelry sold in the U.S. "Our legal action sends a strong signal to industry that we will not stand by while they play toxic flavor of the month with jewelry," said Michael Green, the group's executive director. "Cadmium is toxic at any age. There is no excuse for cadmium in any jewelry, and we intend to eliminate this health threat to women and children," he said.

Some of the worst offenders of the toxic children's jewelry were found at Wal-mart, dollar stores, and Claires. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced it was pulling three of the contaminated items from store shelves. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has since advised parents to throw away all cheap children's metal jewelry and federal lawmakers have proposed legislation to ban cadmium in children's jewelry. Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of two of the items sold at Wal-mart stores.

I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but now I do wonder about some of the jewelry that I have. Does it have toxic metals? I do think that the focus should be on all jewelry, not just items manufactured specifically for children. Babies & toddlers don't discriminate; they'll suck on anything. Research is essential before buying anything. You really need to find out where an item came from & how it was made.

Monday, February 1, 2010

free sample of Nordic Naturals fish oil

Nordic Naturals is allowing interested consumers to get a free sample of their quality fish oil. Call the phone number for Nordic Naturals at 1-800-662-2544 (when the auto attendant comes on push 3 for consumers, then push 1 for getting samples, then leave your name & address on the voice mail). I tried calling myself a few weeks ago & my samples arrived yesterday.

I've been using their fish oil for about 5 years and am very impressed. The ones I currently take are lemon flavored. There is no icky aftertaste.

Nordic Naturals are 3rd party tested and free of environmental toxins. They offer 80 different products for adults, children, and pets. It's really hard to get my children to take their supplements.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The many benefits of Fish Oil

I have been taking fish oils for about 5 years. I first learned about fish oil when I was breastfeeding, and my doctor advised me to take some DHA because it was good for my baby's brain and my mood (as I suffered from post-partum depression.) Omega-3 contains 2 essential fatty acids (or EFAs), EPA and DHA. Our body can't make EFA's; they are only obtained through diet and supplementation. There is also Omega-6 (GLA) and Omega-9 (Oleic Acid). Omega 6 is also an essential fatty acid. Omega 6 is much more common in the average North American's diet, than Omega 3's are. Omega 6 is found in many common cooking oils, seeds, and nuts. On Dr. Weil's website, he states that hormones derived from Omega 6's seem to have the opposite effect of Omega 3's, increasing inflammation and blood clotting. He says that many people consume too much Omega 6. So it's important to strike the right balance. Omega 9 is not technically an essential fatty acid because our bodies can make it from unsaturated fat. Normally we don't have a shortage of Omega 9 in our diets. Omega 9 is found in olive oil and animal fats.

Fish oil has may health benefits. Here are some of them:
  • Supports heart health
  • According to the American Heart Association, Omega 3 fatty acids can decrease heart arythmias, reduce triglycerides levels, and slow growth of atherosclerotic plaque, and slightly lower blood pressure
  • good for increasing circulation
  • EPA supports balanced blood sugar
  • DHA is good for supporting learning and memory
  • DHA and Omega-6 promotes feeling of well-being & helps mood - many use it to help ease symptoms of depression
  • EPA is good for joint health and flexibility. It supports the body's anti-inflammatory response.
  • may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nourishes the skin and hair
  • According to Nordic Naturals' literature and Dr. Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, " those who consume fish oils tend to have better body composition and may burn fat better. Some research has shown that omega 3 fats, EPA + DHA, in fish oil may help reduce fat and even help protect against obesity."
The American Heart Association warns that high levels of fish oil can cause excessive bleeding in some people and recommends using under a doctor's supervision.


Friday, January 29, 2010

free sample of Perlabella anti-aging pearls

I just ordered a free sample of Perlabella by going here: (there is a $2.95 shipping fee) I can't wait to try it.

Perlabella PureDose Pearls, direct from Italy The Power of Purity -- The effectiveness of any anti-aging product depends upon the integrity and purity of its ingredients. Perlabella PureDose Pearls are unique because, unlike most other anti-aging products, they are airtight, making it impossible for water, air or preservatives to compromise the integrity of their ingredients. That’s what we call real beauty, pure and simple."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chemicals to Avoid in Everyday Personal Care Products

I've been wanting to do a post about chemicals that should be avoided. This article puts it very well:

Natural Solutions Magazine

I'd like to bring Natural Solutions magazine to your attention. It's been around since 1994. First it was known as Alternative Medicine, then in February 2008 it became known as Natural Solutions. Their website is full of wonderfully, useful information, and there is a free e-newsletter to sign up for. The website has recipes, articles, and a section for coupons & free samples. There is also a link to view a free sample issue of the magazine online.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm in love with ylang ylang

I've been wanting to buy some ylang ylang essential oil for some time, but have been waiting. Ylang Ylang oil is rather expensive, as far as essential oils go. I am so in love with the scent. It's a floral scent that is beautiful and sensual.

I recently bought some Avalon Organics Ylang Ylang shampoo. I had never thought that I would be so excited to wash my hair. Avalon Organics also has shower gel and body lotion.

My husband also surprised my a yesterday with some Aura Cacia Ylang Ylang III essential oil. Aura Cacia is a widely available brand. Aura Cacia uses 100% pure essential oils and uses environmentally friendly production practices. My local Fred Meyer carries it, as do many grocery stores with a health food department. I have been experimenting with making some perfume. It is also nice to put a drop or two in an aromatherapy diffuser; it makes my bedroom smell wonderful. For aromatherapy purposes it is supposed to induce calmness.

*author's note - I was not compensated in anyway for mentioning any brands above. Those are just the brands that I personally used and liked.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Environmentally Friendly Exfoliants

Exfoliation is a necessary part of skin care to remove the outer, dead skin cells to reveal the fresh, new cells underneath. It can prevent pores from getting clogged and causing acne. It also helps skin to look refreshed, rather than dull and dry. It also feels good and invigorating. Not all exfoliants are environmentally friendly, however. Some have the potential to harm marine life.

There are a couple of ways to exfoliate: manual and chemical exfoliation. Manual exfoliation involves scrubbing or brushing the skin. Chemical exfoliation involves a mild acid to slough off cells on the surface. Common peels or masks use like fruit acids and alpha or beta hydrody acids. I'm going to concentrate, right now, on manual exfoliating. Many women use scrubs, loofahs, or brushes for exfoliating their bodies. For most women, exfoliating once a week is sufficient.

What to use for exfoliating

About Microbeads

Many body washes and facial cleansers contain microbeads to help gently exfoliate skin. They seem gentle, and seem like a good idea. Until one realizes what they are made out of and what happens to them after they are used. The tiny plastic beads go down the drain and go out to the water supply to become pollutants and become a danger to sea life.


I used to believe that loofahs were made from the remains of a sea creature. The truth is that a loofah is made from a dried cucumber-like plant. If you use a loofah, replace it regularly because it can become unsanitary. Shower poufs, loofahs, and other sponges harbor bacteria.

What I use to exfoliate

I like to use coffee grounds or ground almonds. Sugar and salt scrubs are nice to.

updated 3/24/2014

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Almond facial scrub

I love using ground almonds as an exfoliant. They remove dead skin, while leaving the skin soft and silky. The almond oil is great for your skin.

I had a bag of Bob's Red Mill almond flour that I really loved. I kept it in the freezer to keep it fresh. I would take a little out once in a while & mix it with a few drops of water and rub lightly on my face. Then my husband decided it was too old to eat, so he threw it in the garbage. He didn't understand why I was so upset that it was gone. I don't like waste; I can usually find a use for fruits & veggies that are turning. Bananas that are going a little soft and brown that no one wants to eat are good for face masks. I have a cucumber that's been in the fridge just a little too long that will be good for my eyes. When I was a teenager, my mom couldn't stand for me to waste perfectly good food by smearing it on my face. So that thriftiness remains with me today.

Since my pre-ground almonds were gone, I thought I could grind some myself. I had a bag of stale almonds that no one in my house wanted to eat. I don't have a food processor, but I thought a blender or coffee grinder would work. I ended up with almond butter smeared inside my coffee grinder...yuck. I think I kept the grinder going too long. Anyhow, I decided to try the chunky buttery mixture for a mask. It worked pretty nicely. My skin was quite soft and smooth afterwards. You really can't beat pre-ground almonds.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Beginning a New Year

Many of us start the new year with resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, lose weight, etc. But why? As we head into the new year it’s good to take a look at our motivation. If we are not focused then it’s easy to get off track.

Last year I decided to try to eat healthier. I was tired, lethargic, and depressed. I knew I wanted a better life. There are also some health issues that run in my family: diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. My mother-in-law had a stroke at the beginning of last year and that really made me think. I wanted to live a long, healthy life. I knew that started with what I put into my body for fuel. So this year I am continuing my quest for healthy eating. Here are some good ideas.
  • stocking up on whole grains
  • choosing whole foods - foods that are minimally processed, no artificial flavors or sweeteners
  • no partially hydrogenated oils
  • no high fructose corn syrup
  • choosing organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy
  • choosing organic fruits and vegetables. Organic foods have no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fumigants, no GMO's, no irradiation, no hormones or antibiotics, or artificial ingredients. Choosing organic foods heps to keep chemicals out of your body, helps protect the environment. According to Earthbound Farm's website organic fruits and vegetables are 30% higher in antioxidants. They say emerging science is showing that average levels of nutrients are 25% higher in organic foods.
This year another focus of mine is daily exercise. I tend to get easily distracted and procrastinate. Exercise really does help me feel better. It gives me more energy & helps my mental outlook. I like walking outside, but during the winter it's cold and rainy. My goal is to limit my excuses. I do have an exercise bike and stair climber, but I seem to put exercising on the back burner. It really is a choice, though. I make time to eat dinner and make time to do other things that I like. So exercise is just another think that I need to make time for.

The key is developing good habits. As a little kid you are taught to brush your teeth and bathe. Keeping an exercise program going & making healthy food choices is no different.