Eco-Friendly Beauty

For the past year or so, I have made an effort to switch to 100% cruelty free and eco-conscious beauty products. Here is a collection of the toiletry products I use every day. All are cruelty free and budget friendly. Most importantly, THEY WORK!

 

Toothpaste: Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Toothpaste Gel.

Price: $3-$4

I’ve been using this stuff forever, and I love it. I particularly like the Whole Care, because it fights cavities, freshens breath, helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup, and safely whitens teeth with naturally sourced silicas. All Tom’s of Maine products are free of artificial colors, flavors, fragrances, preservatives, and are certified cruelty free. My favorite flavor is the spearmint, but it also comes in peppermint and orange mango.

 

Floss: Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque Floss

Price: About $3

Again, Tom’s is my go-to when it comes to oral health products. All of the certifications listed above hold true for this floss. The floss also comes in my favorite spearmint flavor.

 

Mouthwash: Desert Essence Whitening Plus Mouthwash

Price: About $8 for 16oz

I just starting using this mouthwash, and I really like it! It is made with Bamboo Juice and Zinc Citrate, which clean teeth and help to prevent tarter build up. It also freshens breath and lives your mouth feeling cool and refreshed.

 

Face Wash: Alba Botanica, Natural Acne Dote, Deep Pore Wash

Price: About $7

Again, I’ve been using this product for a while and love it. I have found that it fights breakouts without over-drying the skin. This product is free of artificial fragrances (but it smells great!), colors, sulfates, parabens, and petrochemicals.

 

Contact Solution: Clear Conscience

Price: About $10

This one is pretty self-explanatory. This is the only cruelty free contact solution I have been able to find, it works great, and it’s affordable. What more could you want?

 

Deodorant: Primal Pit Paste Stick

Price: About $11

Here’s the deal: deodorant has to work. Whether its natural or not, nobody wants to be the person who stinks. I just switched to this brand, and, to be honest with you, it works better than I thought any natural deodorant ever could. A lot of conventional deodorants contain aluminum as an antiperspirant. The problem with that is aluminum in deodorant has been linked to breast cancer, bone disorders, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Scary stuff. I have searched and searched trying to find a deodorant that works WITHOUT these chemicals. Really, this stuff works. I like the lavender scent, but the product comes in an array of scents from lime to frankincense. It is worth every penny!

 

Body lotion: Everyone™ 3-in-1 Lavender & Aloe Lotion

Price: About $10 for 32oz (which is a TON of lotion!)

This product can be used on your hands, face and body. It keeps your skin super soft, is made with non-GMO ingredients, and comes in a recyclable bottle. I prefer the lavender, but it comes in a variety of scents.
Lip Balm: Now Completely Kissable™ Vanilla Lip Balm

Price: Less than $2

This one is pretty self-explanatory as well. This organic lip balm makes my lips super soft, and it tastes like yummy vanilla. And you can’t beat the price!

 

Shampoo and Conditioner: Nature’s Gate Biotin + Bamboo Enriching Shampoo and Conditioner

Price: About $7/Bottle

THIS STUFF SMELLS AMAZING! Seriously, I’ve had people give me a hug and say, “wow your hair smells so good”. It makes my hair soft and shiny. This company is committed to wholesome and eco-friendly beauty. You can browse their wide array of products to find a hair care regimen that works for your hair type.

 

Body Wash: Alaffia GoodSoap Bars or Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap

Price: Between $2 and $10

The Alaffia GoodSoap Bars are collaboration between Alaffia and Whole Foods. While you can only buy this soap at Whole Foods, each bar is about $2 and can be bought in bulk, which means less plastic and chemicals. If liquid body soap is more your speed, check out Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. This soap runs the gamut of healthy certifications- cruelty free, fair trade, non-GMO, Vegan, and Certified Organic. It comes in a variety of scents, and costs around $10.

 

Loofa: EcoTools Exfoliating EcoPouf®

Price: Less than $3

I bet you didn’t know you could buy an eco-friendly loofa! I am a big fan of EcoTools. They have a wide variety of eco-conscious beauty tools, including makeup brush sets, hairbrushes, and bath/spa products. I like the extra-scrubby exfoliating poof, but they also have delicate sponges and shower gloves.

 

Hair Removal: Coconut Oil and Preserve Triple Razor System

Price: Coconut Oil- varies; Razor- $8.50

If you choose to remove your body hair, I have yet to find a shaving cream that works better than straight up coconut oil. It leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and smelling great. I use the Preserve Triple Razor, which is made from recycled plastic. It’s BPA free, made in the U.S. , and comes in a variety of colors.

 

 

So there you have it! If you give any of these products a try, let me know what you think! Questions, comments, concerns? Let me know in the comment section!

Clear Skin Foods

When I went to the drug store the other day, I couldn’t help but notice the ENTIRE SECTION dedicated to cosmetics. There’s liquid foundation, powder, concealer, blush, bronzer, highlighter… all promising to help you get a “natural” glow. That got me wondering, why do we find smooth, clear skin attractive?

Turns out, our skin is the last organ to receive nutrients. This means that clear skin=awesome health. Back in the day, our Paleolithic ancestors used the appearance of a potential partner’s skin to determine his/her health and genetics, and to ultimately decide if they wanted to have kids with that partner.

Instead of using topical products to give an illusion of health, here are some foods that can help you achieve clear skin from the inside out (and probably make you feel healthier overall):

Water

Ok I know this is technically not a food, but proper hydration is a main key to clear skin. The average person should consume 2 liters a day, and even more if you are exercising or sweating a lot.

Avocado

This may be the best news I’ve gotten all day. Avocados contain monounsaturated fat chains that help your skin produce lipids, which keep your skin feeling soft and smooth. They also contain vitamins E and C, which help to reduce inflammation.

Kale

The term “super food” is no joke when it comes to this leafy green. Kale contains densely concentrated vitamins, including vitamin A, B, C, E, and K, as well as potassium, iron, folate, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. The best part? You can usually find a bunch for around $1. Kale is not messing around!

Beets

I love the taste of beets! They are a great source of vitamin A and E, which help the skin to restore itself. They also boast a slew of minerals that help to reduce toxins in the body. If you cant stand to eat a beet by itself, try putting it in a juice or smoothie with orange juice. I have found that the orange flavor melds nicely with the beet flavor, and reduces some of its “beety-ness”.

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans contain protein and vitamins, which helps the skin to repair itself. They also function as a source of complex carbohydrates, which help to regulate blood sugar levels. You really could substitute any legume in for similar benefits.

Sweet Potatoes

Like every other food on this list, sweet potatoes are high in vitamins that help the skin to restore itself and reduce inflammation. But what you might not know is that sweet potatoes can help to regulate cortisone levels. Cortisone is the main hormone produced as a response to stress. Eating sweet potatoes can help reduce some of the internal stress on your body, which could lead to fewer stress-induced breakouts.

 

If you incorporate some of these foods into your diet, don’t forget to let me know how it goes! Questions, comments, concerns, ideas??? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Weekly Workout: Legs

Just about every lady I know wants long, sexy, toned legs. For this workout though, I encourage you to do things for you, rather than for how you think society is telling you to look. I have found if you approach each workout with a mindset of gratitude towards your body’s abilities and a tenacity to see what you can achieve, your entire approach towards fitness will change. See if you can adopt this mindset while you give this workout a try.

Low-Intensity Cardio

If you had told me three months I would be advocating for low intensity cardio, I would have called you crazy. But this one workout has seriously changed my exercise game. Here’s what you do:

  • Hop on the treadmill
  • Bump the incline up to 15%
  • Walk at 3mph for 45 minutes

Seriously, try it. The first time I did, it totally kicked my butt. I’m talking dripping with sweat, totally out of breath kicked my butt. Walking on an incline burns a TON of calories, and also helps to firm your hamstrings and calves.

Workout

After your 45 minutes of cardio, give this workout a try. Choose heavier weights that will challenge you. Rest 30- 60 seconds between sets. The shaking is a good thing I promise.

  • 3 sets X 12 reps Barbell back squat + as many jump squats as you can do between sets
  • 3X10 walking lunges/leg (optional: hold dumbbells)
  • 3X10/side banded side steps in a squat position (Check out these resistance bands)
  • 3X12 Bulgarian split squat/leg (optional: hold medicine ball)
  • 4X15 lying leg press machine

 

Now lets get to work and see what those legs can do! Questions, comments, concerns? Any workouts your dying to see? Let me know in the comment section!

Avocado Toast

Guys, I seriously LOVE this breakfast. When you think of avocado toast, you most likely think of a glitzy Hollywood celebrity daintily eating a $20 piece of toast. I am here to tell you that does not need to be the case.

Why it’s Good for You

The healthy fats in the avocado help your body to absorb other nutrients. The sprouted bread is rich in fiber, which will keep you satisfied all morning long. The sprouts, though they may be small, are rich in vitamins and minerals and are a great source of plant-based protein.

What You Need

  • Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread
  • Avocado
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Toast 2 slices of bread to your desired toasty-ness. I think you can handle that one.
  2. While the toast is toasting, scoop a whole avocado (minus the seed, obviously) into a bowl. Mash it up to a relatively smooth consistency. Think homemade guacamole texture.
  3. Top the toast with avocado, sprouts, a drizzle of olive, and salt and pepper
  4. Enjoy!

Cost Breakdown

  • Sprouted Bread- $5 for 12 slices; About $0.42/slice
  • Avocado- $5 for 5 Avocados; $1/avocado
  • Sprouts- $3 for a container with 3 servings; $1/ serving
  • Olive Oil/Salt/Pepper- you likely already have these items, so FREE!

For a whole week of avocado toast, you would likely pay roughly $16 for 5 meals, which breaks down to around $3.20 PER BREAKFAST! Come one, you know you spend more than that when you go out.

 

And there you have it! A whole food, nutritious, inexpensive breakfast that will make you feel fancy AF.

Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! Here are some ways to make your V-day plans eco-friendly on a budget.

Chocolates

In lieu of those generic chocolates in crude heart shaped boxes, opt for chocolates bought in bulk. You can arrange the chocolates in a mason jar, and fasten it with a ribbon with a heartfelt note to give to your valentine. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, you can hand pick the candy you know your sweetie will love. It’s really a win-win.

Flowers

Rather than buying cut flowers that will inevitably die in a week, consider buying your valentine a potted plant. There are many benefits associated with having an indoor plant, including temperature/humidity regulation and carbon dioxide reduction. Also, you can nurture a plant to help it grow and thrive…. Which is basically the cutest metaphor ever for your ~love~. Would you want your relationship to shrivel up and die in a week? I didn’t think so.

Dinner

Instead of a fancy (read: expensive) dinner at a fancy (read: snooty) restaurant, try making a tasty three-course meal with you V-day date. You can make an outing of going to a local farmers market and picking out seasonal ingredients. Once you get back home, turn on some suave music and get cooking. Cooking is an excellent way to bond with one another, and you’ll save a couple bucks in the process. A sample seasonal menu could be:

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
  • Almond Crusted Chicken with Brussels Sprouts
  • Single Serving Apple Crisp in a Ramekin

Drink

Once again, GO LOCAL when it comes to alcohol. Check out some local wineries or breweries to find a drink that tickles your fancy. Don’t have time for that? Opt for wine in a recyclable cardboard box. I know, I know, but hear me out. Boxed wines produce up to 85% less waste than traditional bottled wines, and they can be safely transported to just about any location a date may take you (a romantic evening hike followed by a nice red while you watch the sunset? Check!) I am a big fan of Bota Box wines; they are BPA free and 100% recyclable.

The Birds and the Bees

Listen, it’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is one of the ~sexiest~ holidays. Using Sustain Products is one eco-friendly way to get down with the person you love (or the person you’re hooking up with, your FWB…. Y’all know I don’t judge). These awesome condoms are made in a responsible and sustainable way. They are certified by the Fair Trade Rubber Association, certified Vegan and non-GMO (read: no sketchy chemicals in your most intimate parts), and are never tested on animals. Also, 10% of their company profits go to women who don’t have access to publicly funded reproductive health and family planning services!!! You can purchase Sustain products here. They are also sold at Whole Foods, Sprouts, TARGET, and other natural-minded retailers.

 

And there you have it! I hope all of you lovely people have a great and environmentally mindful Valentines Day. What if you don’t have a S.O. with whom to share this day with??? Don’t fret! Here are a few ways to have an eco-friendly Galentines Day for all of you fabulously single ladies (and guys!) out there.

Eco- Friendly Galentines Day

Ah, Galentines Day. A sacred holiday observed on February 13th by single females and their friends everywhere. Here are some ways to have an environmentally mindful, fabulous day of papering that would make even Leslie Knope envious, all while keeping your budget in mind.

Mani/Pedi

Grab a bowl filled with warm water. Add some almond or grape-seed oil, a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I like lavender or eucalyptus), and soak your troubles away. RGB Cosmetics makes some great nail polishes that are produced under fair trade conditions. 
Additionally, all products are cruelty free, gluten free, paraben free, and vegan. To top it all off, each bottle is under $10. Check out some of their trendy colors here.

Homemade Bath Bombs

Get together with some of your girlfriends and make these DIY bath bombs! Extra bonus: you can treat yourself to a luxurious bath when your friends go home. To make these all-natural bath bombs, you’ll need:

  1. Baking Soda
  2. Cream of Tartar
  3. Arrowroot Powder
  4. Pink Himalayan Salt
  5. Liquid Coconut Oil (or other Carried Oil)
  6. Essential Oils for Fragrance
  7. Bath Bomb Molds – (You can also use Norpro meatball tongs).

You can likely buy most of these ingredients in bulk, which will cut down on cost and waste since you will only buy what you need. Get the full recipe here, courtesy of NaturallyHandcrafted.com!

Host a Galentines Day Brunch

Check out your local farmers market for seasonal produce and inspiration! You could make waffles from scratch and adorn them with pomegranate or pears, purchase bacon from a local farmer, whip up some sweet potato hash browns, and scramble some eggs from a local hen farm. Of course, no brunch would be complete without Mimosas. Lucky for you, oranges tend to be in season during the month of February, which means…. Orange juice sales! See if you can get your hands on some fresh squeezed juice for optimal taste. You could juice your own, but most Whole Foods locations have a juice bar with pre-squeezed fresh OJ. Mix it with your favorite champagne and drink as is, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, add some frozen pomegranate seeds to step up your brunch game.

Potluck Dinner and a Show

Plan a cute potluck dinner with your friends! While you can’t be entirely in control of what your guests bring, you can make sure that your contribution is healthy and eco-conscious. Plus since you will only be responsible for one dish, you will spend less money overall, which is always a good thing. After dinner, treat you and your guests to a double feature of Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL. Come on, you know those movies were made for Galentines.

Volunteer

Grab a group of friends (heck you can even go by yourself!), and set out to do a day of good. A lot of people are “volunteered out” after the holidays, which means there are plenty of organizations that would greatly appreciate your presence! Find a place near you that you think could use some help-a food bank, a women’s shelter, the humane society, etc. and get out there and spread the love.

Slap anyone who uses the word “single” in your presence.

This is 100% eco-friendly and 100% free.