Monday, December 31, 2012

The ONE Resolution I Wish Everyone Would Make

I say it every year, there is one resolution I wish everyone would make, and I believe this would change the world: GO ORGANIC.  Just buy organic food, that's all.  This seems so simple and so intuitive to me that I cannot believe there is still the option--do you want your food with or without poison?  By purchasing organic food you are making a statement, you are voting, and you are insuring the most precious thing you have, your health and that of your family.  What is more important than that?

Not only is buying organic food benefiting you, it's doing something positive and necessary for the whole planet, people, and animals that live here.  Buying organic is protecting the farmers who often are forced to handle food laden with dangerous chemicals and suffer tremendous health consequences.  It's protecting our rivers, our oceans, our air quality.  It's voting against dangerous GMOs--when you buy organic, you buy GMO free.

"We can't afford it," is the excuse I hear most for why people don't buy organic.  This makes me a little crazy because the folks I hear this most from are people with bank accounts that I can only aspire to.  If I had to move my family into a one room efficiency apartment to be able to buy organic, I would, that's how important I think it is.  Of course, that is not necessary because organic food does Not cost that much more than conventional food and in some cases it's the same and even cheaper.  You just have to shop smart.  You buy what is in season, you buy in bulk, you buy local. Also, I firmly believe that you either pay now, or pay later in the form of hefty hospital bills and poor health.  You can't afford Not to buy organic.

Eating healthy is Not expensive!  There is nothing cheaper than beans and rice.  Throw in a little kale (which you can grow on a balcony year round for pennies) and you have yourself a hearty stick-to-your-ribs meal on the cheap.  I'm on a tight budget myself and food is still the most important thing I spend money on.  When I was a student living on a shoe string, I still ate organic--nothing fancy, but healthy organic food like broccoli, salad, sweet potatoes, etc.  Anyone still thinking it's too expensive WATCH THIS. 

The only reason not to eat organic is because it's not available.  I've been there before, living in a region where it was really hard to find.  If you are in this position, demand it.  Ask your grocer to carry it.  Be proactive, grow it, make it a priority.  For the last six years, I have eaten all organic food at home.  I have a major thing for Thai food and I know my take out is not organic, but as more and more people ask for it, it will become more and more available.

You can still eat whatever you want--cookies and junk food even (though I don't recommend this), just make it organic and you are quantum leaps ahead. We are swimming in chemicals that are killing us and our planet.  If that sounds extreme, just have a look at the EWG and the ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION to get your passion ignited.  I believe that going organic is possibly the easiest and most powerful change people can make and it can start today.

I may be singing to the choir posting this here, but if anyone is reading this that has not made the switch, I hope you will consider it.  Good health to all in 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Amber Lotus Eco Friendly Calendars for 2013

Don't you love a calendar that inspires you?  Amer lotus makes some beautiful calendars, from recycled paper and soy ink, that will help keep you on track with your goals for the new year.  That, or they'll just look gorgeous hanging there.  Check out this Land Art Calendar featuring art by Richard Shilling.  I love the way it celebrates nature and impermanence.

Featuring quotes from the likes of Emerson and the Bhagavad Gita, their Meditation Calendar is a gentle reminder to find time for that silent space.  And if you need a day planner type calendar, Amber Lotus has some excellent themes along the same lines.  Even though everybody has tablets and computers and iPhones to keep track of things, these day planners are great for when you need to have a visual in front of you or for when you need to jot something down.

They are fabulous for keeping track of what you eat, for instance.  I love to have a record of what I've eaten and what healthy things I've done (meditation, walking, etc).  Their engagement calendars, like this one, have plenty of space for keeping track of all sorts of stuff and will inspire you along the way. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Last Minute Gifts that Inspire

Need some last minute gift ideas for Christmas?  Bookstores and grocery stores are great for this.  Books make beautiful gifts, especially a glossy photo rich book that covers a favorite subject.  For vegetarian foodies, I am in love with RIPE, by Cheryl Phlipot.  It's full of gorgeous photos of fruits and vegetables, highlighting what works of art they truly are.  Brilliantly organized by color, Ripe is well rounded including recipes, tips and anecdotes along with those mouth watering photos.

Another foodie book, though not vegetarian, is Tender, by Nigel Slater. This is basically a love letter to the garden.  A guide to growing and preparing vegetables, it also has gorgeous photographs, but you'll want to read it for the prose.  And re-read. The author writes with passion and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Major inspiration to prep for spring gardening. Slater also has a book called Ripe, and I can't wait to read it and everything else he has written. 
Your local food co-op or Whole Foods Market has a ton of stuff that would make great gifts and stocking stuffers. Threads for Thought hoodies are US made from organic cotton with low impact dye.  Proceeds benefit the International Rescue Committee.

Whole Foods brand has luxury bar soaps made in France and wrapped in petty recycled paper perfect for stockings.  They're 80% organic and come in different scents and colors.

Some organic chocolate or sipping chocolate would be a great gift, it doesn't have to be expensive.  I'd rather get one awesome organic chocolate bar than a more expensive gift with less substance. 
A nice bottle of organic olive oil, some seasonal fruit in a market basket...the options are endless if you are creative.  Christmas eve is a wonderful time to buy gifts, last minute can be glorious! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

RESCUE REMEDY for Holiday Balance

As fun as they can be, the holidays can also be stressful.  Sometimes they're not fun and sometimes people get sad and depressed during the happiest time of the year.  Enter Rescue Remedy.  I've been experimenting with Bach Flower Remedies for the last couple of months for various things (more on that later) and I feel they are working for me.  Formulas get very specific, but for the holidays and general trauma, Rescue Remedy can be beneficial.   

Developed in the 1930's by England's Dr. Bach, Rescue Remedy is a blend of flower essences said to restore inner balance and change vibrations.  I encountered Bach's Flower remedies many years ago in London, where it seemed to me everyone was familiar with it.  It's the most common flower remedy, and a combination of five remedies--Rock Rose (for panic), Impatiens (irritability), Clematis (focus), and Star of Bethlehem (shock) and Cherry Plum (irrationality).  You just take a couple of drops, or sprays, or even eat a blackberry pastille that is infused with it (perfect for flying). 

Rescue Remedy is safe for children and animals too.  They do make a children specific Rescue Remedy for Kids.  This is great for travel, and any situation where there may be an elevated sense of anxiety. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Gifts for Happy Campers

Need holiday gift ideas for the camper in your life?  Everything here can be found locally at stores like REI, Target, and even your food co-op.  And if you need any ideas for how to spend any Christmas money... Snow Peak makes some of the most visually appealing camping gear out there, and it's functional too.  Their colored Titanium Mugs would make an excellent gift.  They're a little pricey, so it's something the camper might not get for themselves, but would love to have.  Titanium is super light weight, so it's ideal for backpackers, but it's also nice for car camping or traveling.

There are two different kinds, the heavier double walled titanium mug is perfect for keeping your drink warm for a long time.  It works, it will keep something hot for a while--but--you cannot cook in it.  The lighter weight single walled mug won't keep your stuff warm for as long, but you can cook stuff in it.  Either one is a fine piece of gear and they do come in plain silver, but why would you ever want that when you can have this gorgeous purple, blue, or green?

For those who need the basics, the Trek 700 is a versatile and ideal container for cooking in the outdoors.  It serves as a cup, a bowl, and a pot all in one and it's designed to integrate well with other gear.  you can put your spork through the little hole, then the top of the spork will hold your fuel in place, while your stove nests inside the cup.  That same hole is also a draining spout for when you're making pasta, rice noodles, etc. Very smart design and feather light.  I've cooked with this myself and it works like a dream.

Known as one of the best backpacks for women, Gregory's Deva Backpack is great for female hikers and backpackers.  A women specific suspension system is designed to make heavy loads feel much lighter.  It also has a hip belt that swivels, this is great for maintaining balance and extra padding for comfort.  Lots of pockets for storage and organization hold all your gear.  A hydration pouch houses your water supply as well as easy access pocket on the sides for an additional water bottle.  It has a detachable lid which can be used as a day pack.  Pockets on the hip belt are handy for snacks and small items.

Beefy zipper pulls make it fast and easy to get in and out of compartments.  Fabric is durable and water resistant, everything--every pocket, every loop is well thought out. This pack comes in extra small, small and medium for a custom fit.

Camp Booties are basically slippers for the campsite.  After a day of hiking and other outdoor activities, it's nice to have something soft and cozy to slip tired feet into.  These EarthKeepers, from Timberland, are made with recycled materials and zip together making them small and packable.

The rugged outer sole is made from Green Rubber and has some hefty tread for a camp bootie.  They're water and dirt repellant with great insulation to keep your feet warm.  They're a bit like down booties on steroids, and are available for men, women, and kids.

This cool little Micro Table from GSI Outdoors comes in a black bag with a strap that makes it easy to carry.  People take these backpacking--not the ultra lighters but if you're not going too far, it would be reasonable.  It's awesome for car camping and makes a great nightstand for in the tent.

You can adjust the height and it's super easy to set up and take down. This thing has so many other uses--it makes a great laptop table, a tray for breakfast in bed, and a way to create layers on your dining table for festivities (I used it for my Day of the Dead ofrenda).  This kind of multi use versatility makes it a must have and it would probably fit in a Christmas stocking, wouldn't that be fun? 

Speaking of stockings, I love Sea To Summit's Kitchen Sink for this purpose.  A kitchen sink in a stocking still amuses me (I recommended one last Christmas), but this year, Sea To Summit has an ultra light sink made specifically for backpacking.  The Ultra-Sil Kitchen Sink works as well as the heftier model but it's much lighter and I think even cooler looking.   Keep it eco friendly and leave no trace with this sink.

Smartwool makes a ton of things that would be perfect for under the tree and certain to be well received, you really can't go wrong with them.

I'm in love with their Next To Skin Zip Tees.  They come in luscious colors, are super soft against your skin, and are ideal for cold weather.  While outside, you can keep it zipped up for warmth around your neck, and when you go inside, you can unzip for perfect comfort.  Wool naturally regulates your body temperature, but this is a great feature.  It also changes the look.  They're high tech and built for action.  For instance the seams are constructed in such a way to prevent chafing and panels are built specifically to not irritate when you're wearing a backpack.  They're great for any season but they are heaven in really cold weather. 

I bought several of these during the summer when they were on sale on Amazon (hint: if you ever see these on clearance, snatch them up fast).   This year's model are even better, they're more streamlined and the neck is improved, it's a little looser, doesn't come up quite so high, and I think it looks nicer zipped up.  They seem to run a little larger than last year's model, I'd say they are more true to size while before I needed to size up.  I wear an 8-10 and a medium is perfect. These tops are awesome for camping, travel, and any time you're not able to do laundry as they don't retain odor and hold up great.

For stockings--Socks.  Good quality wool socks, like these from Darn Tough are perfect for stockings.  They make wonderful socks for men, women, and children, in fun colors, super comfort and extremely high quality.  I recommend the kind with the extra cush on the bottoms which are luxurious and make your feet feel so cozy.

Wool is perfect for socks, keeping you warm when it's cold and wicking away moisture when your feet get hot. To top it all off, Darn Tough has a lifetime guarantee--you just can't beat that.
Another great thing for stockings are these cool BOTTLE BRIGHT water bottle cleaning pellets from Clean Ethics.  You know how some water bottles are hard to clean and you never feel like you quite get them as clean as you'd like because the opening is do your best with a bottle brush, but you're not sure?  Problem solved.  These non-toxic, chlorine free biodegradable tablets make bottle cleaning easy, just drop one in your bottle, let it sit a few minutes, shake, rinse, and that's it.  Great for campers, students, travelers, pretty much everyone carries a bottle these days.                             

Speaking of bottles, this Classic Stanley Thermos is so great looking it's almost functional art.   Fantastic for car camping and road trips, there is something so comforting about a Stanley thermos. 

Include some organic hot chocolate mix or chai and you have a fabulous gift.  Full of liquid, it takes on some heft and that handle is great for carrying.  It's BPA free and will keep hot drinks hot for a good 24 hours, and cold drinks cold even longer than that.   A Stanley anything is an excellent man gift by the way, for those lucky men on your list, but they're good for women too, especially this gorgeous stainless steel version.

The Crucial Multi-tool knife, by Gerber, is a beautiful knife that has necessities like pliers, screwdriver, bottle opener and blades, and has a handy clip to attach to your backpack.  I love that it's just what you need, not a ton of bells and whistles.
ENO Twilights are possibly the most festive, fun stocking stuffer for the camper or outdoors person.  They are tiny, light weight, battery powered string lights that you can use at your campsite, your hammock, on your bicycle handlebars--pretty much anywhere.  You could take them traveling with you to brighten up hotel rooms.

They come in plain white, but the multicolored lights are so much more fun.  The 23 lights come in a little pouch which make a nice presentation and keep them protected.  They take three AA batteries, so be sure to include those too.

GoToobs by Humangear are handy containers to have for camping and all you need to use your favorite (eco friendly) brand from home, just refill and use over and over.  They're silicone, feel great in your hand, are easy to use, and some have a little suction cup that sticks to the walls at the camp ground, hotels, etc.  The little dial around the top are actually labels (lotion, shampoo, conditioner) for extra help remembering what's in there.

Seasonal flavored Clif Bars make great stocking stuffers for outdoorsy types who like to have a stash in their backpack, bike bag, or carry on for quick energy.  Iced Gingerbread, Peppermint Stick, and Spiced Pumpkin Pie are all festive and GMO free.  These are easy to find right at your local grocery store for stuffing stockings or to slip in a box with a gift of gear, or in the pocket of a backpack like the one we talked about earlier. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

KEEN Akita Ankle Booties

This year KEEN moved in an wonderful new direction with wedge boots and booties.  The three new Akita style boots all give you a couple of extra inches of height and add some fashion to your look without compromising KEEN quality and comfort.  I'm so excited about the Akitas, I hope KEEN will carry on with offering options like these for those of us who refuse to wear uncomfortable (unbearable?) high heels but still want to be feminine and gain some height and sexiness.

The tall boots are fabulous, but sometimes it's too hot for a taller boot.  Enter the Akita Ankle Bootie.  They are so cute and dress up a pair of skinny jeans while still being super easy to walk in and almost as comfortable as one of their trail boots.  There is not a lot of ankle support but they still feel just fine to me.  With KEEN, you typically need to size up a half size.  My normal size is 8.5, so in KEENs I get 9's.  They're one of my favorite brands, the quality is excellent, and they keep coming up with wonderful designs. The Akitas would be a fun holiday gift, and if you bought them on Zappos, you'd still have plenty of time to get them before the 25th. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Healthy Foods for Travel

One of the biggest challenges while traveling is finding healthy food to eat.  At home I insist on an organic diet packed with fresh vegetables and lots of organic greens.  It's super hard to find organic food on the go.  It's likely you'll encounter GMOs, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals and undesirable ingredients.  A great strategy is to make sure you have some healthy snacks with you so you don't get overly hungry and eat something you'd rather not, and be sure to load up on antioxidants so that when you do encounter that stuff, your body will have extra ammo to deal with it.  If you are heading out for the holidays, having healthy food on hand will save you money, you'll feel better, and you might avoid meltdowns from little ones.

Here are some great foods for travel:

Navitas Naturals CACAO GOJI SUPERFOOD Power Snacks.  Made with goji berries, cacao, maca, and chia seeds, these little square bites taste good and will provide energy and sustenance on the go.  They are completely organic, vegan, and portable.  Perfect for on the plane or in the car, and great for kids because they are sweet.  But not too sweet!  They're also sustainably sourced and like everything from Navitas, the best of the best.  This is one company I trust for quality and everything I've ever had by them has been excellent.

Two more Navitas picks for travel:  Wheatgrass powder and Coconut Water Powder--yes you read that right.  When we travel it's common to become dehydrated, especially on the plane.  Coconut is packed with electrolytes and will get you hydrated in a hurry, just add a tablespoon to water.  It's freeze dried, isn't that genius?  Coconut water is one of my favorite things on earth and to be able to have it in my backpack is amazing to me.  Often when you eat in restaurants and on the go, you consume a lot more salt than you would at home.  Coconut water is also great for getting rid of that puffiness your body can get from too much salt.  It can also be used at home in smoothies or juice--perfect for post holiday excess. 

Wheatgrass is a super quick way to get chlorophyll in your system.  Sometimes it's hard (or impossible) to find organic greens on the go.  With Navitas Naturals Wheat Grass, you can have greens with you at all times.  Just a tiny little bit-1/4 tsp is equal to a shot that you'd get a the co-op.  It weighs next to nothing and can easily go into your luggage.  Wheat grass is detoxifying, energizing, and packed with nutrients.  If you are someone that is used to having green drinks every day at home, this is perfect.  Navitas has a huge selection of superfoods that are ideal for travel.  It's condensed nutrition that you're after and they have all sorts of things that fit the bill, and if you're ambitious enough to make your own energy bars and whatnot, they have premium ingredients. 

If you're not a fan of straight wheat grass (though the freeze dried is much more mild than getting it fresh), another great option are Green Vibrance packets which contain organic greens, herbs and probiotics.  Both options are wonderful back up for being away from your juicer and while I don't think they are the same in nutrition value (some might argue they are even better) as fresh green juice, I feel it's crucial to have a daily dose of greens.  I like the taste and they are available for subscribe and save prices on Amazon and discounted at Vitacost. 

Organic Almonds and other nuts and seeds.  Trader Joes makes this very easy with their affordable nuts and dried fruit, you can make your own trail mix or buy theirs that come in little individual packets.  If you don't have access to TJs, just make your own trailmix.  My favorite nuts are Macadamias and Walnuts.  Your local co-op is also a great source for trail mixes and nuts and seeds in bulk.  

Organic Apples and Lemons.  I'd say bananas too, which are nature's ultimate power bar, but they get smashed so easily.  Apples are fairly portable and make for a refreshing and teeth and breath freshening snack on the go.  Lemons are detoxifying and are wonderful to have on hand to squeeze into hot water or on salads. 

Justin's Nut ButterBe warned, this stuff is ridiculously addictive, however the individual packets make self control a little easier. Eat it right out of the packet or with celery sticks or crackers.  

Water Bottle.  Staying hydrated is key, and having your own bottle with you will make that easier.  I love Camelbak's Groove water bottle with the built in charcoal filters.  This allows you to get water from any tap without the yucky taste that often comes with that.  You save money and help the earth by not contributing to the ghastly amount of water bottles floating around in the ocean and landfills.  This bottle does not get the real nasties out, the ones that can make you sick, but if you are going to a destination with questionable water, they make a bottle for that too, the All Clear

Oat Meal.  This is easy.  There are so many good organic hot cereals on the market that come in little packets that you can just throw in your suitcase and prepare right in the hotel room or even on the plane.  They're satisfying, stick to your ribs, and are kid friendly.  I like the Trader Joes instant cinnamon oatmeal, its organic, kid friendly, and tastes great.   

Kale Chips.  While they can get a little smashed, they are delicious and full of good nutrition.  Alive & Radiant's kale chips seem to hold up well because it's the whole leaf that is dehydrated, so they stay in one piece a little better.  The Dijon is sooo good and doesn't leave you with garlic breath (important when you're on the go and interacting with lots of people!).  They're a little too good, I could live on these things.  If you want a sweet kale chip, their Chokalet Kale Chips are fabulous and will definitely hold up great for traveling. 

Tea.  I always bring my own teas, a variety, because I don't want the non-organic teas and coffee found in hotel rooms.  Yogi teas are among my favorite and this year I discovered the new Energy teas which are wonderfully aromatic and delicious.  It really is like aromatherapy, there is just something so soothing about a hot cup of tea.  Not all of their teas are certified organic, but use organic ingredients.  The Vanilla Spice is great for this time of year. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

El Naturalista Yggdrasil Boots

Need something to make your spirits bright this holiday season?  How about a pair of eco friendly,  super comfy boots inspired by Nordic mythology?  El Naturalista is a brand that makes an art out of green footwear, making their shoes and boots as environmentally healthy as possible while infusing each pair with a beautiful backstory and great looks.

These Yggdrasils are derived from sacred Finnish legend unifying earth with universe and translates to Tree of Life.  The gods planted an ash tree with roots that went from the center of the universe and branches wrapping all around the earth. 

Reinforced stitching throughout, The "Frog Shock System" removable recycled insole combined with the cushy sole made from post industrial rubber waste is comfortable and gives you a little height.  There's a side zip as well as the cute buttons and they easily slip on and off.  The hide is naturally treated with river stones, not harsh chemicals,  Find them HERE.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Boy's Holiday Gift Guide

Need some gift ideas for boys?  And by boys, I mean the kind that range from about seven years old to fifty seven. 
Dangerous Book for Boys:  This has been around a few years, it's classic boy stuff, fun illustrations, and just something you'd want on your shelf.  I love the retro manly vibe.
Pocket Knife:  Every boy wants a pocket knife, right?  Gerber makes some attractive pocket knives accented with bright green which makes them easier to find in a backpack and more appealing to design freaks like me.  The Dime has all the essentials and can go right on your key chain and is a perfect surprise for stockings.  
Headphones:  We all need headphones these days.  And if you travel, noise cancelling headphones help with hearing your inflight movies and drowning out loud and annoying sounds.  They are supposed to reduce fatigue for this reason.  Able Planet just came out with some new Traveler's Choice headphones in fun bright colors.  These are fabulous for kids (if you have more than one, you can color code) and the color makes them easy to find and easy to identify.  They are foldable and have a volume control right on the cord.  The sound is just as great as the older black model.  They come with a travel pouch and in a great looking gift worthy box.
Wool Socks:  Darn Tough makes some awesome socks.  And I mean AWESOME.  Know why?  Not only do they come in great colors and a huge variety styles for any activity, Darn Tough guarantees them for life.  I still have a hard time believing it, but it's true.  Never feel guilty for spending $20 on socks again, these are an investment.  Wool is infinitely superior to other fabrics and will keep your feet dry and warm.  In warm weather, it will wick moisture away from your feet and prevent blisters.  It's good stuff, and makes a great gift.  A couple pair in the stocking would be fabulous and they have many options to choose from.
Stanley Insulated Bottle:  Stanley is commemorating their 100th year with a limited edition version of their vacuum seal bottle.  These things are hard core, you can literally run over them with a truck and they will be okay.  Not that you would do that, of course, but they're rugged.  And rugged is manly, even if it's just for your son's backpack (they come in different sizes).  He'll have it ten years later when he goes off to college and be able to pass it on to his kids.  What better way to drink hot chocolate?
Leap Organics Bar Soaps:   Just look at that artwork on the package.  Masculine and gorgeous.  They have several different scents, all natural, all organic and they are all fabulous.  Perfect for the stocking.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Natural Fitness Non Toxic Exercise & PROMO Code

If you need some inspiration to stay on track through the holidays in your fitness routine, check out this Natural Fitness Resistance Toning Kit.  This would also make a nice gift for under the tree.  You get a fitness ball that has no smell and does not off-gas toxic chemicals, padded ankle cuffs, and an adjustable resistance tube for upper body strengthening. This kit is all you need to tone your whole body and it's phalate and pvc free. 

For additional balance training, this Balance Disc helps  Recommended for people learning to surf, this disc is something you can just slide right under the couch, bed, table, etc, and use it throughout the day.  You can do it while talking on the phone or watching tv, and it remains hidden when you are not using it.  The nubs on the top of the disc give me a feeling that I'm getting foot reflexology treatment while I'm using it, and I can feel it working my core and legs.  The flip side is smooth.  Some people like to use these at their desk while they're at work to help with core strengthening and proper posture alignment.  My chiropractor recommends them as a great tool for balance.

Natural Fitness products are non toxic and do not off-gas.  Those of us who are chemically sensitive really appreciate being able to open up a package and not be knocked over or get a migraine from toxic smells that often accompany this sort of equipment.  And--as part of their involvement in the Zero Impact Program, Natural Fitness plants a tree for every product they sell.  Find them HERE and use promo code SWEATGREEN25 for 25% off!  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Look for the Helpers...

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,‘ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.” ~ Fred Rogers

Image Credit:  The Fred Rogers Company

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Badger Balm for the Stocking

Badger Balm (one of my favorite brands thanks to their organic ingredients) has a fun new product out just in time for the holidays.  A new lip balm with a twist--one end has the tint, the other has shimmer, how festive!  Ingredients are quality and 94% certified organic. 

This is one of the few bodycare brands I trust and I love pretty much everything they do.  This lip tint stick would be great in the stocking, great for teens and tweens (the color is very light and you don't have to worry about harmful chemicals) and good fun for anyone who appreciates a little sparkle.  Find it HERE. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

prAna Cord Skinnies and Sundress for Winter Escape

prAna is such a fun company.  They make colorful comfy travel friendly clothing for people who are living passionately.  And, they have a heart for community.  By using earth friendly fabrics, doing various outreach programs, utilizing fair labor practice, and offering up a positive philosophy, prAna is one of those brands you can feel good about.  With that said, they also have great fashion sense.

Check out these Trinity Cords.  They're like skinny jeans, but cords--perfect for winter.  They look great with boots and booties.  They're thin, which is a great thing and hard to find.  Corduroy can be stiff and uncomfortable, these move with you and they're super soft.  I love the Coal, a charcoal grey color,  which is a nice break from black, but slimming and low profile.  They come in several other colors for variety.  A touch of stretchiness helps these pants hold their shape. 
For your winter escape to someplace warm, I love the Quinn Dress.  It's butter soft and falls at a perfect knee length.  Not too short, not too long.  The neckline is very flattering and feminine while still being functional, there's a built in shelf bra for support.

This dress is perfect for travel, it's lightweight and would be great in a dressy situation or on the beach.  It's made with recycled polyester and is fast drying and low maintenance, something you could easily wash in a hotel sink.  Pull it right out of your suitcase wrinkle free.  It comes in some fabulous colors and patterns, you will probably want more than one. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Giving Good Health

There are a few things, kitchen wise, that I consider essential to my healthy lifestyle and I think these things would be awesome holiday gifts.  Some are small enough for stocking stuffers and others would be fabulous under the tree. Understanding that you can lead someone to green juice but can't make them drink, sometimes the right equipment is all a person needs to get started.  There is nothing more important than your health, nothing more important to spend money on, even though no amount of money can buy it.  You have to create it with lifestyle choices.  Here's my list, in no particular order (besides the juicer being number one).  The idea is to try to make eating healthy as easy and convenient as eating junk.  These are all great gifts for loved ones and that includes yourself:

1.  Juicer:  I can hardly go a couple of days without my green drinks.  Do I love the way they taste? Not exactly (though sometimes I come up with a combination that I think is delicious), but I feel this is so important for me to get my vitamins and nutrients that I have made it a priority.  Kale, lettuce, celery, ginger, green apple...just green stuff that fills your body with healing nutrition.

Yes, it's a lot of produce (sort of), but pay the farmer or pay the doctor as they say, and I couldn't agree more.  Starting your day with a green drink also keeps you on track.  The idea is that you are mainlining hydration and power packed vitamins that your body can easily assimilate. It takes a few minutes, but so does making coffee.  I've had several juicers over the years and I really like the Omega Vert because I find it the easiest to clean, I love the ability to juice wheat grass at home, and it's quiet.  And by the way, for those who think kids won't eat or drink green stuff, my son loves green juice as long as it has apple as an ingredient. 
2.   Lemon Press:  I have two and use them every single day.   My favorite one I got several years ago for about $3 at an Asian market.  It works way better than the expensive ones, so if you have access to an Asian or Hispanic market, I'd recommend those first.  Squeeze lemons and limes into everything--water, salad, green drinks.

3.  Great Knives and a cutting board:  Kyocera is a wonderful brand, and I also just recently discovered this set on Amazon for only $20!  That is so cheap, I couldn't resist, and they are beautiful with the black blade and handle, and work great.  I have several knives in rotation and use them every day for cutting up produce.  Just a total necessity, pair them with a bamboo cutting board.

4.  Water Filter:  Necessity.  I have a reverse osmosis filter installed under my sink and consider clean filtered water a necessity, seriously, maybe this should be number one.  I also have a filter on my shower head and hope to someday have the whole entire house on a filter system. 
5.  Immersion Blender:  For creaming soup, and not a necessity.  This time of year, soup and salad is king at our house.  Soup is a cheap, fast, and easy way to get a lot of nutrients in a meal and it's comforting on cold days.  I'm on my second immersion blender in about 5 years, so they are not the best made things in the world, but I love mine.  Today I found these colorful immersion blenders on Amazon, aren't they fun?

6.  Tongs and Big Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls:  For mixing salad.  I wish I could link up to mine, but I got them a long time ago at Crate and Barrel and they no longer sell them, but they look a lot like these.   They have a handle-lip on the outside for leverage and they are super light weight.  You don't want the heavy ones, you want them to be easy and fast and light.  I use them every day along with tongs.  One pair of tongs I got at the dollar store for a buck, the other pair on Amazon for about $12.  They both work the same and I'm constantly pulling them out of the dishwasher because I use them so much for mixing salads with home made dressings.  With these tools, I can have a delicious salad ready in about five minutes flat.  I just toss my lettuce and veggies in the bowl, pour my dressing ingredients right on top, and toss.

7.  Colanders:  To clean produce, necessity. 
8.  Salad Spinner:  For cleaning lettuce.  I love this one, it's small and works great.  When you get back from the farmers' market, you just throw your lettuce in here, rinse, spin, and you're done.  It also works great for herbs and it's small enough to be super manageable. 
9.  Graters:  Different blades, and several.  I like Microplane and Rosle.  When you have these, it's easy to whip one out of the drawer and grate that carrot for the top of your salad.  Or the ginger for your tea.  Or the beet...  the more colorful your salads, the more appetizing (and kid friendly).  Eat your rainbows. 
10.  Blend Tec Blender:  I use my juicer more these days for green drinks, but have had a blender like this for the last 20 years and never want to be without one.  I'm particularly fond of this brand because it's small and fits under my counters so I can leave it out all the time.  In the winter I use it for soups and in the summer for cold icey smoothies. 
11.  Food Dehydrator:  I don't consider this a necessity but while we are on the subject of healthy accoutrements and gifts, a dehydrator is a wonderful thing to have.  The best out there, in my opinion, is the TSM Dehydrator.  It's stainless steel so no yucky plastic leaching, it's great looking, and works like a dream.  Also, their customer service is excellent.  If you have one of these, you can maximize your nutrition by cooking at very low heat.  You can make the most delicious treats with this as well as home made trail food for backpacking--that right there will save you a fortune.