Organic or Not…Here I Come — February 5, 2020

Organic or Not…Here I Come

While two of my main goals lately have been to start eating healthier and to stop eating so much processed food, I also don’t want to blow my budget.

And when looking at my budget, one of my major expenses is Groceries.

And as if I wasn’t already forking over enough money on groceries, now that we’re trying to get healthier, I’m expected to spend even more by buying only organic products, right?

 

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What does organic even mean?

We’ve all been taught that buying organic foods is important. Buying organic can protect you and your family from any pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, toxins, antibiotics and other chemicals  used during the growing practices.

But what does “organic” really mean?

Although what’s considered “organic” varies from country to country, it’s typically required that In order for a food to be considered organic, it must be produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sewage sludge and ionizing radiation.

 

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What does being classified as “organic” require?

Let’s look at a few of the requirements necessary for products to be  considered “certified organic.”

In order for animal products to be classified as organic, the animals cannot take antibiotics or growth hormones, must be fed only organic feed, must spend time outdoors and must have enough space to live comfortably.

Multi-ingredient foods, such as packaged and jarred foods, must contain 95% organic ingredients.

 

 

 

 

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But buying organic can be SO expensive.

Thankfully everything that you put into your cart doesn’t necessarily have to be organic.

There are foods that you should always buy “organic” and other foods you can save money on buying the other stuff.

And thankfully someone else has done this homework for you.

Each year the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization,..working with three organizations—the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA’s Pesticide Testing Program, and the Food and Drug Administration…conducts tests to determine what are known as the “Clean Fifteen,” a list of the fifteen fruits and vegetables containing the least traces of pesticides, and the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of the twelve fruits and vegetables contain the most. These tests are known as the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

 

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Let’s Go Shopping

Now that we know…thank goodness…that buying organic is not required all across the board…and that someone else has already compiled this list for you, let’s take a look at which items you absolutely should be buying organic and which items you can get by without going organic…so that you can prioritize your shopping and still have the peace of mind that you’re limiting your family’s pesticide exposure…. hopefully saving us all some green when buying our greens.

Great Advice for Buying Grapes — February 3, 2020

Great Advice for Buying Grapes

When shopping for grapes, there are three questions that you should ask yourself…

  • 1.  Are the grapes organic?
  • 2.  Are the grapes fully ripe? How can I tell?
  • 3.  What color are the grapes? What’s the difference?

 

 

 

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1.  Are the grapes organic?

One of my goals in adopting a healthier lifestyle and learning how to take care of my newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetic husband is has been to stop eating so much processed foods…

I am slowly realizing that paying the little bit more for organic produce is almost like paying for a more premium grade of gas whenever at the gas pump…you may not be able to tell the difference now…but once the differences start showing up, oh my, my!!!

Buying organic foods lessen your likelihood of exposure to contaminants—such as pesticides and heavy metals.

When shopping for produce and other products that are organic, look for the USDA organic logo.

 

 

 

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2.  Are the grapes fully ripe? How can I tell?

Fully ripened grapes taste the best and have the highest concentration of antioxidants. You can tell if grapes are fully ripe or not by checking to see if the grapes are…

  • firmly attached to a healthy looking stem
  • free from wrinkles
  • intact
  • not leaking juice
  • plump

 

 

 

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3.  What color are the grapes? What’s the difference?

The color of the grape is important for two reasons—first of all, the taste…and then, the antioxidant content.

As far as taste,

  • blue-black grapes are the least sweet…these grapes should be deep and rich in color
  • green grapes are medium sweet…look for green grapes that have a slight yellowish hue
  • red grapes are very sweet…these grapes should be mostly red
  • As far as antioxidants, choose red grapes.

Be sure that the area around the attachment is the same color as the rest of the grape.

 

Saving Money on Body Care, Skincare, and Cosmetics–Things to Know — October 13, 2019

Saving Money on Body Care, Skincare, and Cosmetics–Things to Know


Makeup, skincare products, haircare products, and everything else it takes to make you look good at the next Ole Miss game can add up to a pretty hefty sum…

But are there actual tried-and-true ways to save money on those products you actually do use and love…and not waste money on products you will never use and might even hate…without losing that all-important Southern belle image?!

1.  Know how much you are actually spending as compared to other similar products or sizes available in that particular product. Calculate how much a product costs per ounce/gram by dividing the product retail price by the number of ounces in the product.

 

2.  Know what products have won awards, such as…

 

 

3.  Know your skin…The most important step in caring for your skin is understanding your specific skin type. To figure your skin type, gently pat a blotting paper on the different areas of your face and hold the sheet up to the light. The five different skin types are…

  • a.  Combination SkinCombination skin is the most common skin type since there are so many more sebaceous, or oil-producing, glands around our noses than other areas of our faces, but people with this skin type have a consistently oily T-zone with consistent dryness in other areas of the face, such as the cheeks.
  • b.  Dry Skin...Dry skin is characterized by small pores, an overall feeling of tightness, more visible lines, less elasticity and a duller complexion.  Dry skin requires moisturizer throughout the day, especially when you first wake up or after you cleanse your face. Cleansing dry skin leaves it feeling taut and dehydrated.
  • c.  Normal Skin...Normal skin is not too dry and not too oily. Your skin usually has an even tone,  a soft texture, and little flakiness. You may get an oily T-zone in hot weather, but generally this area is oil-free. People with normal skin will feel clean and clear after cleansing…and might still be in need of a little moisturizer, but will not need to apply moisturizer very often throughout the day as the skin stays fairly moisturized on its own.
  • d.  Oily Skin...Oily skin types tend to have larger pores, a shiny and  thicker feeling complexion, frequent blackheads and pimples. Cleansing the face often and avoiding heavy creams and emollients help minimize the appearance of oil. Oily skin feels clean and oil-free after cleansing, but oil returns shortly after cleansing.
  • e.  Sensitive Skin...People with sensitive skin experience a low-level of discomfort-breakouts, rashes, red spots, stinging, swelling, flakiness, itching-at all times. People with sensitive skin have trouble finding products that do not irritate the skin and cause a reaction. Look for mild products without fragrance, harsh ingredients like alcohol and menthol, and harsh scrubbing agents such as crushed walnuts, pumice, and aluminum oxide crystals.



4.  Know yourself...What kind of makeup wearer are you?

We apply makeup to help us project the image we want the world to see…as contrary as this may sound, to help us  be “our true selves.”

Each of us has some sort of “beauty routine ritual” that really works for us as individuals….a routine or regimen that makes us feel fresh, grounded, whole and ready for the day…and propels us forward with confidence, grace and self-empowerment.

This image or “true self” will be individualistic, specific, and perhaps difficult to put into exact words…but each of us has an idea of the type of person she wants looking back at her whenever she takes the time to look in a mirror.

Knowing yourself and the image that you wish to project will help you define your personal needs and aproach both the world of beauty and the world of fashion from the proper perspective.

Starting to know yourself in this arena may be easier if you first understand the following five types of makeup wearers.

  • a.  The makeup hoarder ..The makeup hoarder is an informed customer who feels confident shopping for beauty products and probably has a huge stash, but is uncomfortable actually wearing it.
  • b.   The makeup junkie…The makeup junkie is an informed customer who feels very comfortable shopping for and wearing makeup…who reads the top makeup blogs regularly,  watch Youtube videos, frequent makeup counters. She appreciates and owns good quality makeup products and brushes.
  • c.  The makeup know-it-all...The makeup know-it-all can be shown or told nothing that she haven’t seen or heard before.
  • d.  The makeup novice…The makeup novice is interested in, but also intimidated by makeup. She knows very little about applying makeup and has worn little to no makeup in her lifetime.
  • e.  The makeup wearer…The makeup wearer is an informed consumer who feels comfortable with her makeup and skincare routine. Although she has a general knowledge of makeup and skincare and wears makeup daily, she does not consider herself an expert.
Making the Switch to a “Cruelty-Free” Lifestyle (without making it cruel to you yourself) — October 9, 2019

Making the Switch to a “Cruelty-Free” Lifestyle (without making it cruel to you yourself)



Legally
, laboratory animals form a special category of animals and are not currently protected from ordinary animal abuse and cruelty laws.

But if enough of us speak up loudly enough, perhaps this fact could be changed.

 

 

Making positive changes and choices--one decision at a time, one individual at a time–always impacts more than just that one individual. Any act of kindness, no matter how small, has a ripple effect.

Making the decision to change to a cruelty-free lifestyle–one product at a time, one individual at a time–eventually could have enough of an impact to convince large companies to stop animal testing altogether.

 
Make this lifestyle change gradually. Switching over one product at a time, instead of going all out and buying everything at once, will make the the transition more manageable and cost effective.

Take an inventory to see what products you already have on hand–makeup, skincare, shower essentials, toothpaste, deodorant–that are already “cruelty-free.” However, don’t feel like you need to replace everything all at once.

This will help you know which products you can continue to purchase and which ones you may need to re-evaluate for more conscious options.

…But instead of simply throwing everything isn’t found to be “cruelty-free,” replace particular product with a cruelty-free alternative as you are almost finished with it.

If you do find that one or more of your favorite products are made by a company that does still do animal testing, take the time now to find a cruelty-free alternative that works well. Researching brands and products before you’re desperately out of it gives you time to find the right brands, products, and shades.

Do not wait until the last minute to find an alternative for that product(s). If you do, you will probably end up reaching for the same non- “cruelty-free” product out of habit.

8 Reasons Even Southern Women Who Like to Fish and Hunt Should Consider Switching to Organic Cosmetics — October 8, 2019

8 Reasons Even Southern Women Who Like to Fish and Hunt Should Consider Switching to Organic Cosmetics


To a Southern woman, taking away our “beauty products” is similar to taking away firearms to a Southern man. We realize that “Even an old barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint. We consider putting on a full face of makeup is actually part of putting on the “full armor of God…after all, the higher the hair, the closer to God.

But even Southern women are becoming more and more concerned about the fact that many ingredients in our beauty and personal care products expose the wearer to a range of health concerns and may be linked to illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Even if most of us are not tree huggers…(after all, we love our bacon and fried chicken way too much to ever be vegetarians…the only reason we buy fabric shopping bags is so that our groceries won’t fall out of the bottom of the bag when we carry them into the house because the bagged at Walmart refused to double-bag them)…we do respect the idea that using certain products “harms the environment,” and we like river rafting and fishing way too much to simply stand by and let that happen.

Here are ten good reasons that even Southern women should consider switching to organic cosmetics instead of simply using the Cover Girl foundation and Bonne Belle bright blue eyeshadow that we all grew up with.

1. Organic 

cosmetics will not harm the environment

…and that’s one less thing to worry about while we’re getting dressed to go deer hunting or bass fishing….or watch some Bulldogs fight some Razorbacks.Conventional beauty products often contain aluminum and petroleum. Retrieving the aluminum and petroleum needed to make cosmetics requires a great deal of mining to be done in some of the world’s most beautiful and sensitive areas, such as the Amazon rainforest. Every year miles of land are destroyed and stripped of vital wildlife.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hesitant to all ask ourselves about every single product that we use while getting dressed…

  • Is the packaging recyclable?
  • Were the ingredients in the product grown with synthetic chemicals and fertilizers?
  • What happens when those chemicals go down the drain?
  • What will this do to our water supply and the local ecosystems?

2. Organic cosmetics contain no harsh chemicals...

Conventional makeup often contains chemicals that can not only cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, but many of these chemicals are downright poisonous to the endocrine system.

For example, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $72M of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades.

To make matters worse, The FDA has not formally regulated beauty ingredients since 1938.

A few of the main toxic chemicals found in beauty and skincare products include….

  • Formaldehyde, often found in baby ‘no tear’ shampoos and haircare products, liquid soaps, nail polish, may be a contributing factor in cancer development if inhaled or absorbed through the skin for a prolonged period of time.
  • Lead, often found in lipsticks and toothpaste, can cause brain damage, seizures, gastrointestinal issues, reproductive dysfunction, and kidney dysfunction.
  • Nitrosamine, found in almost everything, can form when certain chemical ingredients are mixed together and are usually not listed as an actual ingredient….yet many studies link nitrosamine to cancer. In 1996, the FDA “suggested” that cosmetic manufacturers remove any ingredients that create nitrosamine when combined with other chemicals, but this suggestion has been pretty much  ignored. In fact, ten percent of cosmetics still contain combinations of ingredients that create nitrosamines.
  •  Parabens…such as propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben….are found in almost any beauty product that has water added to it. Parabens have been shown to disrupt hormones and have the potential to cause cancer. A 2004 study found parabens in 18 out of 20 samples of human breast tissue. Parabens are in almost 100% of drugstore skincare products and cosmetics.
  • Phthalates…found in nail polish, air fresheners, perfumes, body sprays, detergents, and soaps…are not commonly listed as an ingredient, but a study by SafeCosmetics.org, found phthalates in at least 72 products they tested. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormones and decrease sperm count.

3. Organic makeup is better for your skin...

Products that are 100% vegan contain no artificial ingredients and are free of preservatives, parabens, additives and sulfates. USDA-certified organic beauty products only include organic ingredients that meet the same growing standards as organic food. Organic makeup is also free of mineral oils which can clog pores and cause skin irritation and breakouts.

4. Organic makeup does not contain harmful, mysterious “fragrances.”… 

Nearly all scented makeup products and perfumes list the word “fragrance,” but companies are not required by the FDA to list the actual ingredients that make up the “fragrance” in their products because that combination of ingredients is classified as a trade secret.

You may never know what harmful chemical components comprise those man-made scents that are actually behind that wonderful scent you so enjoy inhaling. You may actually be breathing in hormone-disrupting chemicals that could lead to infertility, cancer, nervous system disorders, allergies, and birth defects.

If a product is labeled as USDA-certified organic, each ingredient that makes up the “fragrance” will actually be listed individually on the packaging…and the product will include only 100% natural ingredients.

5. Organic makeup can help your skin have a smoother, more youthful appearance

Organic products often contains cocoa butter and various other nutrient-rich oils…such as extracts of white tea, grapes, apricots, and pomegranate seeds. Organic skincare products often contain oils…such as extra virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, and olive oil.

These oils provide the essential fatty acids needed for healthy, youthful skin, act as an antioxidant protective barrier, and may inhibit the production of collagen and elastase, two enzymes that break down the integrity and elasticity of the skin.

 

6. Organic makeup provides a certain level of sun protection

The skin on the face is thinner and more susceptible to UV-related skin aging. Ingredients commonly found in organic cosmetics that can help protect your skin from the sun include…

  • Coconut oil
  • Iron oxide
  • Titanium oxide
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc oxide

 

7. Organic makeup is better for sensitive skin...

Chemical-based cosmetics are more likely to cause skin reactions such as dry rough patches, rashes, rosacia and breakouts.

8. Organic makeup often performs better than traditional products…

Certified-organic beauty products are made with superior ingredients…ingredients that are pure, fresh and simple. Just as the best meals are usually not made ingredients that are pure, fresh and simple, neither are the best beauty products. Better ingredients mean better results.

The Essentials about Essential Oils — May 19, 2019

The Essentials about Essential Oils

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils are perhaps the oldest known element in following a “natural health” regimen…dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who seem to have used them as far back as 3500BC for religious, cosmetic, and health purposes.

Essential oils have been called the “life blood” of the plant and are typically extracted from within the many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds in which they are found through the process of steam distillation. These essential oils have been used for both physical and emotional benefits for thousands of years.

Each person will respond to the aroma, or these specific chemical elements, when breathing in the scent of an essential oil, in his or her own unique way…based on individual emotions, behaviors, memories, and experiences.

That being said, certain essential oils are always considered to have a certain effect regardless of these factors. Certain oils simply almost always seem more uplifting, more invigorating, more calming, more soothing….

In a future post, I will be sharing a list of the best essential oils to use when fighting insomnia.

 

But what good is that list of essential oils and a brand new vial of essential oil…if you’re like I was the first time that I purchased essential oil. It sat in my bathroom for years before I finally gave it away to my daughter because I had no clue what to do with it…(okay, did I just admit that?!)

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils can have a huge positive influence on us both physically and psychologically.

Physically, using essential oils aromatically can help heal and maintain the respiratory system by improving the quality of the air we are breathing and protecting us from environmental threats…

Psychologically, using essential oils aromatically can help control moods, tension, and stress.

But first, how and why do essential oils work aromatically?

When you inhale essential oils, you are actually breathing in a fine mist or vapor of the actual oil. This vapor contains all the same properties of the actual liquid oil itself, just in a different format.

Once you have inhaled the vapor, the scent of the essential oil interacts with smell receptors located in the brain, known as “olfactory sensors.”

These “olfactory sensors” are part of the “olfactory system,” the part of the brain that regulates our sense of smell. The “olfactory system” part of the brain is located near and closely connected to the limbic system.

Once the scent is processed by the olfactory system, it travels through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system.

The “limbic system” is the part of the brain responsible for processing smell, emotions, behavior, memory, and thoughts…and that can help us feel calm, encouraged, and so forth. Here, the scent triggers responses in the brain based on memories and experiences.

Notice that the limbic system, the part of the brain most closely connected with the olfactory system, is not connected with processing sight, sound, or touch…explaining why smell, more than any of the other five senses, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.

And why essential oils have a particularly powerful effect when used aromatically.

 

Book Review…Essential Glow — May 17, 2019

Book Review…Essential Glow

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

Essential Glow: Recipes & Tips for Using Essential Oils is an all-inclusive guide to natural beauty written for people who would like to learn how to use essential oils in their daily lives to boost their beauty, home, and general wellness.

This book sparked my interest because I am just now starting to use essential oils in my home now that I have started this journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle.

The title, Essential Glow, is appropriate for the book because the book was written by the same people who host the popular Hello Glow website—the ultimate source for daily inspiration, recipes, projects, and tips for living a healthy, mindful life and learning more about natural beauty and wellness.

The author of the book is Stephanie Gerber, a Nashville-based natural living blogger, who has also written…Stephanie Gerber says that she believes that “the journey to well-being can and should be, simple and beautiful, natural and stylish.”

The book is filled with over two hundred simple recipes and tutorials for making organic skincare and haircare-products, household cleaners, and even cosmetics at home…all using essential oils…including recipes for laundry softeners, all purpose cleaners, steam tablets, masks, bath oils, and invigorating scrubs.

Twenty-Two Tweaks and Twists — May 14, 2019

Twenty-Two Tweaks and Twists

We just covered how to make your own healthy deodorant with healthy natural ingredients…

…specifically the baking soda that we actually just bought as we get ready to learn how to deep-fry and make such unhealthy foods as French fries and fried onion rings.

But before we continue on our detour off the Raw Foods Pyramid into the forbidden world of deep-frying, I thought that this might be a good time to talk about a few of the worst and most commonly used unhealthy ingredients that the health and beauty and home products that most of us have simply been buying because “that’s what our mom always used to use” actually contain…

1. Artificial Colors…

  • What is it…The letters “F” (food) and “D”(drugs) and “C” (cosmetics) followed by a color and number, such as D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1, represent artificial or synthetic colors that are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources.
  • Why to avoid…suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant, and contributing factor to ADHD in children

2. Artificial Fragrances…

  • What is it…”fragrance” is a catchall term for the thousands of hidden chemicals used to make fragrances smell good. Federal law doesn’t require companies to list the actual ingredients in a product’s “secret formula,” meaning you as the consumer could actually be putting tons of chemicals that are hazardous to your health without realizing it
  • Where it’s found…found in many cosmetics and skin care products including perfume, cologne, conditioner, face creams, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, body wash and moisturizers
  • Why to avoid…allergic reactions, headache, aggravated asthma, dizziness, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system

3. Benzophenone…

  • What is it…preservative commonly used to keep cosmetics and nail polishes from breaking down when they are exposed to ultraviolet light
  • Where it’s found…lip balms and nail enamels
  • Why to avoid…carcinogen

4. Diethyl Phthalate (DEP)…

  • What is it…a masking agent
  • Where it’s found..in many cosmetics
  • Why to avoid…believed to alter the function of hormones

5. Formaldehyde…

  • What is it…a potent preservative considered a known human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Carcinogens (IARC)
  • Where it’s found…nail products, body washes, conditioners, cleansers, eye shadows, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos
  • Why to avoid…has been linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer, known to cause allergic skin reactions, may also be harmful to the immune system

6. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives (FRP) …

  • What is it…preservatives used to help prevent bacteria growth-including sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, methenamine, Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15
  • Where it’s found…widely used in US products
  • Why to avoid..known human carcinogen, can trigger allergic skin reactions

7. Homosalate…

  • Where it’s found…sunscreens, liquid and powder foundations with SPF
  • Why to avoid…may negatively impact the function of hormones, makes it simpler for your body to absorb pesticides

8. Hydroquinone…

  • What is it…a skin bleaching chemical
  • Where it’s found…found in a lot of cosmetics, such as foundations, that have skin lightening properties
  • Why to avoid… can cause a skin disease called ochronosis, with blue-black lesions that in the worst cases become permanent black caviar-size bumps…may also trigger the development of cancer or irritation of the respiratory tract, as well as the toxicity of organ systems.

9. Lead…

  • What is it…a neurotoxin
  • Where it’s found…hair dye and lipstick
  • Why to avoid…known carcinogen

10. Mercury…

  • What is it…known allergen
  • Where it’s found…mascara and some eyedrops
  • Why to avoid…impairs brain development

11. Mineral Oil…

  • What is it…by-product of petroleum
  • Where it’s found…baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels
  • Why to avoid…creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.

12. Oxybenzone…

  • What is it…active ingredient found in chemical sunscreens
  • Where it’s found…sunscreens
  • Why to avoid…: linked to irritation, sensitization, allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight

13. Parabens…

  • What is it…estrogen-mimicking preservative used widely in cosmetics used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products
  • Where it’s found…makeup, moisturizer, shaving gel, shampoo, personal lubricant, body washes, deodorants,cperfumes and other scented products, facial cleansers, and spray tan products
  • Why to avoid…linked to breast cancer, skin cancer and decreased sperm count…may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorder

14. PEGs…

  • What is it…polyethylene glycol, synthetic petroleum-based chemicals
  • Where it’s found…often used as a creamy base in moisturing cosmetics such as scrubs, body wash, makeup, toothpaste …recognizable as the tiny plastic beads seen in face scrubs, lip scrubs, and exfoliating washes
  • Why to avoid…skin-irritating carcinogen

15. Petrochemicals…

  • What is it…ingredients like mineral oil, paraffin, or petrolatum jelly that are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks
  • Where it’s found…mascara
  • Why to avoid…may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities

16. Pthalates…

  • What is it…a group of chemicals used to improve the performance of some skincare and cosmetic products
  • Where it’s found…used in hundreds of products, including nail polish, perfumes, lotions, moisturizers, fragrances, deodorants, and hair spray
  • Why to avoid…have been linked to increased risk of cancer–including breast, liver, kidney, and lung,—early breast development in girls, reproductive birth defects , endocrine disruption, damage, cancer

.

17. Propylene Glycol…

  • What is it…a small organic alcohol
  • Where it’s found…commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.
  • Why to avoid…has been associated with causing both dermatitis and hives

18. Retinol…

  • What is it…Vitamin A compounds
  • Where it’s found…widely used in sunscreens, skin lotions, lip products, and makeup
  • Why to avoid…when applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds can increase risk skin sensitivity, skin lesions, and tumors

19. Siloxanes…

  • What is it…non-biodegradeable silicone-derived compounds
  • Where it’s found…common emollient used in makeup products to make the skin feel softer and smoother and to add moisture to the skin
  • Why to avoid…linked to tumour growth and skin irritation…also believed to disrupt the function of the endocrine system, interfere in hormone activity, and negatively impact fertility

20. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate…

  • What is it…an industrial-strength degreaser that can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products, especially foamy soaps
  • Where it’s found…shampoo, body wash, foundation, face wash, mascara, acne treatment products, mouthwash, and toothpaste
  • Why to avoid…known skin, lung, and eye irritant…also has the potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen that can also lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage…has also been shown to cause or contribute to canker sores, disruptions of skin’s natural oil balance and eye damage,and cystic acne around the mouth and chin


21. Toluene…

  • What is it…petrochemical solvent, paint thinner, and neurotoxicant that is able to dissolve paint and paint thinner…often listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene
  • Where it’s found…found in nail and hair products
  • Why to avoid…affects the immune, endocrine, and respiratory systems…may also impair fetal development, linked to malignant lymphoma

22. Triclosan…

  • What is it…widely-used antimicrobial chemical…(found in liquid soaps as triclosan…and bar soaps as triclocarban)that are very toxic to the aquatic environment
  • Where it’s found…often added to cosmetics and other personal care items cease of its germ-resisting properties…especially in toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial soap, and hand sanitizers
  • Why to avoid…known thyroid and reproductive hormonal disruptor…could possibly impair both muscle function and the immune system…considered to be potentially irritating to the lungs, eyes, and skin
More Gift Ideas—Organic Food Subscription Boxes — November 23, 2018

More Gift Ideas—Organic Food Subscription Boxes

 

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

While we’re on the subject of healthy snacks, I thought that this would be a good time to share this list of twenty food subscription boxes again…

1.  Blue Apron

  • Who:  People who want to experiment with fun and creative recipes, avoid grocery shopping, and adventurous chefs who enjoy trying new ingredients.
  • What:  Fresh ingredients with seasonal recipes that are never repeated during the year.
  • How much: Prices start at $59.94/week (for a 2 person, 3 meals a week plan) and $69.92/week (for a 4 person, 2 meals a week plan)

2.  Batch

  • Who: People who enjoy Southern hospitality and food
  • What:  limited-edition, themed collection of handmade goods from Southern makers from Nashville, Memphis, Austin, and Charleston
  • How Much:  Batch’s holiday subscription box ships twice: February and May.Cost: Two-month subscription boxes cost $98 for standard or $198 for deluxe boxes. Their one-off, non-subscription boxes make fantastic gifts, too, and run from $39 to $119 a box.

3.  Carnivore Club

  • Who:  discerning carnivores
  • What:  Each month members receive an impressive faux-wood box filled with four to six of the very best artisanal curated cured meat,  featuring artisans from around the world. Each month’s box is themed around one producer specializing in a particular style of cured meats—such as French Charcuterie, Italian Salumi, Spanish Chorizo, South African Biltong and Artisanal Jerky.
  • How much:  Carnivore Club has a range of delivery options including monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly.Cost: $50/month.

4.  Cocoa Runners

  • Who:  Chocolate connoisseurs
  • What:   A box of four different full-size chocolate bars, made from high-quality artisanal chocolate from around the world
  • How much:  $30/month

5.  Degustabox

  • Who:  adventuresome and trendy Foodstirs
  • What:  11-15 full-size food items that are new to the market.
  • How much: Regularly $19.99, but use coupon code DEGUSTA10 to get your first box for $9.99.

6.  Farm to People

  • Who:  people who are addicts to shopping at a farmer’s market.
  • What:  three to four products for “The Casual Foodie” box, or five to eight for “The Food Critic”…small-batch, artisanal goodies made with sustainable ingredients straight from farms across America… no GMOs and nothing artificial, ever.
  • How much:  $30/month for “The Casual Foodie” or $50/month for “The Food Critic”

7.  Graze


  • Who:  people looking for healthy, properly portioned, and nutritious snacks
  • What:  subscriber’s choice of eight of the 100 available choices of snacks…
  • How much: $11.99 for 8 snacks per box

8.  HelloFresh

  • Who: people who enjoy cooking healthy home-cooked meals
  • What:  meal subscription boxes that deliver fresh, nutritious, pre-portioned ingredients—including meat, fish, produce, and grains—along with chef-inspired recipe cards
  • How much:  offers options 3, 4 or 5 meals per week for 2 or for 4 people for basically $10-11.50/per person per meal

9.  Healthy Surprise

  • Who: people on a “clean eating” or paleo diet
  • What: a selection of all natural, 100% guilt-free, gluten-free, GMO, soy, corn, wheat, and gluten-free treats
  • How much:  starts  at $50/box for 15 full size snacks.

10.  Love with Food Tasting Box

  • Who: healthy snackers who like to “give back”
  • What:  12 to 15 natural and organic gluten-free and celiac-safe snacks and sweets…no trans fats, no hydrogenated oils, no artificial flavors/colors, and no high-fructose corn syrup
  • How much:  $10/box for 8 snacks…plus for every box Love With Food sends out, two meals are donated to a food bank in America.

11.  Mantry.

  • Who: men who like trying new snacks, liquors, prepared sauces, and mixes made in America.
  • What:  Branded, lidded wooden crates containing six full-size, non-perishable, stereotypically male-marketed artisan dude-friendly food products such as snacks, liquor, prepared sauces, or flavor enhancers…each box has a particular theme…past themes have included Bacon Nation, Tailgate Tour and Bourbon BBQ.
  • How much:  Each box costs $75.

12.  Nature Box

  • Who:  snackers who want to choose exactly what snacks go in their pack
  • What: a choice of 100+ super-healthy, super-delicious snacks, from chocolate hazelnut granola to sriracha rice crackers
  • How much:  $20 for 5 full-sized snack bags

13.  Orange Glad

  • Who:  people with a taste for exotic treats
  • What:  a gourmet dessert subscription box featuring tasty delights like Russian tea cakes and chocolate almond macaroons
  • How much: $20-$22/month depending on subscription length

14.  Peach Dish

  • Who:  people whose goal is to cook dinner more often and enjoy trying new recipes
  • What:  a meal kit delivery service offering Southern-infused seasonally inspired recipes to cook at home. Each kit includes all the ingredients along with a detailed, step-by-step instruction card needed to prepare for two dinner of the eight different meals offered each week (four meat/fish and four vegetarian). PeachDish also has a separate store on its website with desserts, jams, spice blends, flavored salts, meats, cookbooks, and more.
  • How much:  Prices vary based on how many servings you order. The minimum order is $50, which is the standard box that includes two meals each for two individuals, breaking down to $12.50 per person.

15.  Plated

  • Who:  people who don’t have the time or the energy to plan what’s for dinner, go to the grocery store, and get everything you need for the week
  • What:  all of the ingredients — except for salt, pepper, olive or vegetable oil, and eggs — and step-by-step cooking instructions printed on recipe cards for your choice of seven different meat, seafood, and vegetarian dinners
  • How much:  $48/box…all of the meal kits serve two people at $12 per person. You can choose anywhere from two to seven dinners per week. You can also upgrade any dinner to a Chef’s Table dinner, which includes specialty cuts of meat and seafood, for additional $2 to $18 per person, per dinner…and add dessert to the box for $4 per person, per dessert. The most popular kit is three dinners a week for $72.

16.  Treatsie

  1. Who:  chocolate lovers and those with a sweet tooth
  2. What:  a box of up to $25 worth of delicious artisan sweets—cookies and chocolate to candies and caramel—from three different candy makers each month—indie candy labels, small batch artisanal sweets, and other under-the-radar goodness. You can also choose a subscription that only sends candy bars.
  3. How much:  $20 per month

17.  Try The World

  • Who:  world travelers with foreign tastes
  • What:  tasty treats from other countries, such as cookies from Paris and turkish delights from Turkey
  • How much:  $29-$39 per box

18.  Turntable Kitchen

  • Who. hostesses that would like to find rising artists, enjoy an original menu, get to know unique ingredients, and wow their friends with a playlist of the best new music each month.
  • What:  Pairings Box with perfectly coordinated soundtrack and menu—includes  three seasonal recipes, one or two dried ingredients, a digital mixtape, and a limited-edition vinyl record.
  • How much:  $25/month

19.  Vegan Cuts

  • Who:  vegans and other people interested in finding new gluten-free snacks
  • What:  10 or more vegan-certified snacks (from soda to kale chips
  • How much:  $20 per month

20. Vegin’ Out

  • Who:  vegetarians and vegans interested in having convenient, completely pre-made, customizable meals
  • What:  3 vegetarian vegan entrees, 4 vegetarian vegan side dishes, 1 vegetarian vegan soup, and 5 vegan cookies
  • How much: $128-$170 depending on location
It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas — November 6, 2018

It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas

Hard to believe that Christmas is already here…again…

Seems like just yesterday that  we were putting the tree up and taking it down…

 

Also hard to believe that I’m turning fifty next week also…but more on that later…

 

Anyway, I recently sat down to start thinking about what to get my three daughters this year and remembered the list of  subscription boxes that I had compiled quite a while back…

So I thought that it might be a great time to look back at this list and see if things have changed since I first posted this…

 

Subscription boxes give you a chance to explore new beauty and makeup products from a number of popular and up and coming beauty and cosmetic brands without cramming your drawers and cabinets full of products that you buy at full price only to find that their claims to fame just weren’t true.

 

Non-Vegan Options

Ten possible options are listed here…I’m still trying to decide which is the best option…so if you have any advice, let me know…


1.  Allure Beauty Box

  • What it will cost you…$15 a month
  • What you will get…five or six deluxe-sized samples from major high-end brands like Benefit and Alterna and innovative newcomers all chosen by an Allure magazine editor…plus a special Allure mini-magazine
  • What others like you are saying…Review


2.  Beauty Army

  • What it will cost you…$12 per month
  • What you will get…your choice of options targeted to your own goals, such as creating a natural look or all-out glam, based on your stated profile
  • What others like you are saying…Review
  • What else you should know…if nothing strikes your fancy one month, you can go ahead and skip it, at no charge


3.  Beauty Box 5

  • What it will cost you…$12 per month or $30 per quarter or $99 per year
  • What you will get…four or five deluxe or full-size samples from a blend of under-the-radar brands such as Becca, Skyn Iceland, Supergoop…and green lines like Blum Naturals and Weleda
  • What other like you are saying…Review
  • What else you should know…samples tend to be more useful, such as  Smith’s Rosebud Salve and sunscreen wipes, instead of the trendy or ultraluxe?..also oxes are often customized for your stated skin tone, complexion issues, hair color, and beauty “personality”

 4.  BeautyFix

  • What it will cost you…$24.95 per month
  • What you will get…six or more deluxe travel-size to full-size makeup, skincare and haircare products usually valued around the $100 mark from dermatologist-approved skincare brands such as DDF, Glytone, Vichy…natural and organic choices…high-end makeup and hair care with a problem-solving slant, such as Peter Thomas Roth plumping mascara and Nick Chavez body-building clay for hair
  • What others like you are saying about it…Review
  • What else you should know… spin-off club of online giant Dermstore.com

5. Birchbox

  • What it will cost you…$10 per month
  • What you will get…four or five beauty samples, all picked to match your beauty profile, including one actually chosen by you yourself, from brands such as Dr. Jart+, Kérastase, Kiehl’s and Stila…along with one lifestyle item, such as stationery or tea
  • What others like you are saying about it…Review
  • What else you should know…referring friends and leaving feedback will both earn you purchase points good towards full-size products in the Birchbox shop…also selections are tailored to your responses to questions about hair or skin type and concerns and your stated level of makeup proficiency

6.  Boxycharm

  • What it will cost you…$21 per month
  • What you will get…over $100 worth of full-size beauty and makeup products
  • What others like you are saying about it…Review
  • What else you should know…if you are not sure how to use a product, go to YouTube for tutorials and reviews…also, subscribers get “charms” for reviewing products and referring friends that can be redeemed for more products.

7.   Glossybox

  • What it will cost you…$60 per quarter..$111 semi-annually…$210 per year
  • What you will get…five luxurious beauty products from more than 400 niche, high-end, and emerging brands…such as Oscar de la Renta, Burberry, and Fresh…personalized according to age, skin, hair type, and “overall style
  • What others like you are saying…Review

8.  Ipsy

  • What it will cost you…$10 per month
  • What you will get…”Glam Bags” containing five full-size makeup samples and beauty “tools”…ranging from high-end, mid-range, and drugstore brands, including Benefit, Josie Maran, and Urban Decay…valued at $40 or more…selected at least in part according to your fave brands and the style profile you choose
  • What others like you are saying…Review
  • What else you should know…co-founded by makeup artist and YouTube star Michelle Phan…online video tutorials to help you re-create specific looks using that month’s picks

9.  MUSTHAVE.POPSUGAR.COM

  • What it will cost you…$39.95 per month…$109.85 per quarter… $214.70 per 6 months
  • What you will get…a mix of the best of the best in fashion, beauty, home, fitness and food inspired by that specific time of year…the most recent box contained items like a fashionable scarf, coffee mug, lunch box, lip balm and more
  • What others like you are saying…Review

10.  Play by Sephora

  • What it will cost you…$10 per month
  • What you will get…five good sized skin care, makeup, and hair care samples from high-end brands and some of their own branded products
  • What others like you are saying…Review

 

 

Now for ten organic and cruelty-free subscript[ion boxes…

Organic subscription boxes can introduce women like you and me to those certified-organic skincare products that best cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturize our skin without using any of these noxious artificial chemicals or additives.


1.  Bare Bliss Box

  • What it will cost you…$49.99
  • What you will get…four to six samples
  • What others like you are saying…

2.  Glowing Beets

  • What it will cost you… $29.95 per month
  • What you will get…three or four deluxe-sized samples or full-size beauty products
  • What others like you are saying…Review

3.  Good Being Box

  • What it will cost you… $21 per month
  • What you will get…a mix of full and deluxe size samples customized to your profile
  • What others like you are saying…Review

4.  Honest Beauty

  • What it will cost you…$50 per month
  • What you will get…three full-size items
  • What others like you are saying…Review


5.  LaRitzy

  • What it will cost…$24.99 per month
  • What you will get…a mix of full-size and deluxe sized samples
  • What others like you are saying…Review

6.  Love Goodly

  • What it will cost you…$29.99 every other month
  • What you will get…full size “premium” products
  • What others like you are saying…Review

7.  Petit Vour

  • What it will cost you…$15 per month
  • What you will get…four samples, some of which may be full-size
  • What others like you are saying…Review

  

8.  Terra Bella Box

  • What it will cost you…$37.95 per month
  • What you will get…5-6 small-batch natural beauty items
  • What others like you are saying…


9.  Vegan Cuts Beauty Box

  • What it will cost you...$18.50 per month or $39.95 per quarter
  • What you will get…four to seven products including at least one or two full-size products
  • What others like you are saying…Review

10.  Yuzen

  • What it will cost you…$33 a quarter
  • What you will get…full-sized samples along with a non-beauty item like chocolate
  • What others like you are saying…Review