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Arbor Day Foundation

Arbor Day Foundation

I’m so excited to share with you about the Arbor Day Foundation!  I learned about this foundation recently and was amazed at what they do.  They are a nonprofit dedicated to planting trees and bringing awareness and education around the impact of trees to our environment.  It might seem small to plant a tree but the ripple effect lasts for generations to come!

Arbor Day Foundation

Learn how you can give a celebration or remembrance card and plant trees too.

I love their mission:

We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.

So what do trees actually do for our environment- well a lot actually.  They clean the air and water, which is important for human survival.  But they also provide homes, and habitats for wildlife. Not to mention, providing many fun activities for people young and old to enjoy.  You could say these forests give life!  Arbor Day Foundation supports the replanting of forests and helps to bring awareness of the issue.  Many natural disasters have wreaked havoc on forests.  Arbor Day’s mission is to revitalize these forests and ensure they’re brought back to life.  They just celebrated planting 60 million trees recently- a huge accomplishment!

Arbor Day Foundation

Make an impact by giving a card and helping plant trees.

There are so many programs and opportunities that Arbor Day offers to help bring to light the importance of planting trees and saving our forests.  One cool offering they have is with their Give-A-Tree Cards.  Whenever you purchase a card a tree will be planted in honor of a friend or family member.  So awesome!  There are different options to choose from depending on the occasion.  From a thank you card, birthday card, holiday card- the list is endless.  You can even personalize the card for free!  Then once you receive it you can sign the card.  It’s a simple act but with impact that lasts over a lifetime.

I chose a thank you card with the message, A Gift That Grows.  I love that as I write a thank you note, in turn I’m also sending a gift by planting a tree in honor of the recipient.  This is such a perfect reminder especially around the holiday season when giving is in full swing.  Why not send some Christmas cards dedicated to giving back this year?  What I’ve found is when I give, it has a ripple effect and is contagious.  Who know’s you may just spark a little fire within someone to donate and share this wonderful cause with someone else.  Send a meaningful card with Give-A-Tree Card here!

Arbor Day Foundation

Give a card that creates change!

Besides Give-A-Tree Cards, Arbor Day Foundation also has a program called Trees in Celebration. You plant trees in celebration of a person, an event, a life- really whatever you want.  I did this and dedicated mine to my Nana.  She lived 80 beautiful years on this earth!  To know that her life is being remembered by giving life back through trees is amazing.  It’s so simple too- a perfect holiday gift idea.  You simply fill out the certificate online and then you can either choose to have it delivered to you or download it yourself and print it.  Honor your celebrations by planting trees through Arbor Day Foundation!  You can check it all out here!

Arbor Day Foundation

Send Christmas gifts that make an impact for the next generation.

If it’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the holiday seasons, it’s the importance of supporting and bringing to light organizations that are giving back and making a difference.  If you want to learn more about Arbor Day Foundation, get involved or donate- check out their website here!

Have you thought of planting a tree this holiday season?

13 Days of Giveaways

13 Days of Giveaways

Are you ready for 13 Days of Giveaways?! Fasten your seat belt because this is going to be so good! I’ve teamed up with my girl Lisa from This Organic Girl to bring you our favorite green beauty products. And guess what?! We are giving away not 1 set but 2! That’s right, 2 winners each day! It doesn’t get much better.

It’s all happening on Instagram. Be sure to follow Lisa @thisorganicgirl and Suzi @gurlgonegreen on there to be able to enter to win each day. Below I’m sharing what is up for grabs and why I love the products so much!

Aillea- $400 Value!

We are giving away not 1 $200 gift card but 2!

I love shopping at Aillea. They have all the “IT” green beauty brands, from Rahua, Innersense, Kosas, Lily Lolo and more. You’ll be in green beauty heaven! Besides their online stores they also have 5 brick and mortar stores. They make it so easy to get all my favorite products all in one spot. Shop Aillea here!

Josh- $478 Value!

I’ll be giving away Active Enzyme Exfoliator, Hair spray, Cacao Antioxidant Mask, and Vital Balm Cream. A Some serious loot!

If you’ve been in green beauty for a hot minute then you know Josh Rosebrook! His products speak for themselves and are fan worthy for sure. A I remember trying his hair spray for the first time after trying so many bad ones and being so excited I found one that works so well! A His Active Enzyme Exfoliator is one of the best for smoothing out skin and getting your glow on. A Shop all of Josh Rosebrook here!

Maya Chia- $456 Value!

I’ll be giving away The Optimist, The Super Couple Serum, Highlight of the day(you can choose color), Supercritical Waterless Balm. Talk about a stellar giveaway!

It’s been almost 2 years since I tried my first Maya Chia product and let’s just say it’s been a good two years! They perform so well. The first product I tried was The Super Couple Serum- one of my holy grail oil serums! I was hooked on the products after that. The all star ingredient in Maya Chia is the supercritical chia oil. Not only is chia oil heralded for it’s fast absorbing ability, but also for it’s antioxidants, minerals, and omega 3’s skin’s dream team! You can say bye to fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, it has clinically been proven to increase hydration. Shop all of Maya Chia here!

Laurel- $516 Value!

I’ll be giving away Honey Berry Enzyme Mask, Sun Damage Repair Serum, Brightening Mask, bowl + brush.

Love Laurel products and all she stands for, a cut above!  She prides herself on sourcing and plant actives in each formula.  Her products perform so well.  I remember using the Sun Damage Repair Serum for the first time and literally seeing a transformation in my skin after a few weeks.  They are rich in color because of the potency too!  Shop Laurel here!

Fitglow- $310 Value!

I’ll be giving away 3 lip serums(winner gets to choose color) and their lipstick trio in a bag.

Fitglow products are the perfect marriage between products that perform and nourish the skin.  The founder includes vitamins and antioxidants in her formulas that really create change in the skin.  Even her lip serums are loaded with active ingredients.  If you haven’t tried the lip serums, then you’re in for a serious treat!  Best lip gloss! Shop all Fitglow here!

Osmia- $253 Value!

I’ll be giving away her Night Oil, Whipped Body Mousse and bar of soap.  

Osmia was started by Sarah, an ER doctor.  She had no intention of starting a skincare company but after taking a soap making class she knew she was in love.  After two years of relentless soap making, product testing, perfume making she jumped full force into Osmia, leaving the medical field.  With top notch natural ingredients, Osmia will inspire you towards a healthier lifestyle.  Big on educating the consumer, I love how Osmia lists products they use on their website and products they don’t use and why.  They even discuss their packaging and why it’s so important to care.  I love their philosophy and commitment to excellence.  Shop Osmia here!

Vapour- $410 Value!

I’ll be giving away their Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation, AER Deodorant, Multi-Use Sticks, Organic Lip Conditioner, and Clarity Organic Makeup Remover.

Vapour has been a household green beauty name for a while. They were one of the first brands I tried 7 years ago! Not only are the ingredients clean, but the products work and last.  One thing that all Vapour products have in common is their dewiness they give to your overall look. Making your skin glow!  This mama is all about that glow.  The Multi-Use sticks are one of the most universal products.  You can use them on your cheeks, lips and eyes!  Shop all of Vapour here!

True Botanicals- $540 Value!

I’ll be giving away an Antioxidant Booster, Renew Pure Radiance Oil, and Cellular Repair Serum.  Hello!

When I think of TB what sticks out to me is a luxe anti-aging line.  Using the most potent ingredients, TB spares no expense when it comes to creating their products.  They care about quality and seeing products that actually perform, while at the same time are safe.  A truly unique company in the green beauty industry.  I also love how they do clinical tests on their products.  Something that is rare among the natural skincare industry.  Proven results, with clean ingredients-what more could you want?  The Antioxidant Booster and Cellular Repair Serum are staples in my skincare routine always.  Shop True Botanicals here!

Inika- $222

I’ll be giving away a Baked Mineral Bronzer, Eye shadow duo and their mascara.

I was introduced to this organic makeup line this last year and I’ve found so many treasures within it!  From their bronzers to their eye shadows and mascara.  They all perform so well!  They give your skin a natural look, without looking overdone.  Lisa touts this mascara as her favorite in green beauty!  Check out all of Inika products here!

Live Botanical- $256 Value!

I’ll be giving away a Luna Rose and Honey Mask + Cleanser, Lavender Cocoa Polish, AER Hyaluronic Acid Serum, AER Fresh Complexion Toning Elixir- YES!

I first discovered Live Botanical at IBE Dallas.  I had the pleasure of meeting the maker and founder Carolyn.  It was so great to connect and hear her enthusiasm for herbs.  Sometimes people merely create a line but I could instantly tell this was Carolyn’s passion.  Although she is an herbalist, much of how Carolyn sees skincare is based on her 15+ years in the technology field as an analyst.  It’s always so fascinating to see how people get their start in skincare.  It’s not often I find products that not only are clean, but also effective and budget friendly. Shop all of Live Botanical here!

Beauty Heroes- $256 Value!

I’ll be giving away 1 3 month subscription to Beauty Heroes!

Beauty Heroes was founded by Jeannie Jarnot.  A longtime spa director herself and healthy beauty expert.  I had the pleasure of meeting Jeannie last year at IBE, and she is truly one of the sweetest people.  Beauty Heroes is a monthly beauty service that selects only the best clean beauty brands.  Each month you can find one to two full size truly heroic products in each box.  The products typically range from skincare to haircare products.  However, every 3 months Beauty Heroes offers a makeup box as well that’s optional for members or non-members.  I absolutely love their “Use Less, Love More” philosophy.  By only getting one or two products, you allow yourself to truly experience them.  Of course you can trust their picks, as they are strict on their integrity standards.  Sign up for a subscription here!

Leahlani Skincare- $208 Value!

I’ll be giving away a Mermaid Mask, Honey Love Exfoliator, Mahina Serum, and Bohemian Ruby Toner. 

Every time I open a jar, or bottle of Leahlani skincare I feel like I’m getting a hand signed love note written just to me.  It may have to do with the fact that each, and every creation is made by hand.  Can you just imagine all the love, and care that goes into each bottle?  It’s no wonder my skin sings when anything Leahlani is applied!  I haven’t even mentioned ingredients, but they’re dreamy.  Organic cold pressed oils, mineral rich clays, Hawaiian honey nectars, pure essential oils, and potent botanicals are just a few ingredients that make up Leahlani skincare.  Pure goodness delivered straight to your skin-what more could you want?  Shop all of Leahlani here!

Kosas- $252 Value!

We are giving away a full set of their lipstick collection away!  

These lipsticks are my fave in natural beauty!  They offer a ton of color options, are highly pigmented and last.  Plus, they’re hydrating.  Trust me, you’ll be hooked in no time.  Some favorite colors I love are Thrillest, Royal, and Rosewater.  There isn’t a bad color- seriously.  They also have other makeup products that I love.  One of them is their new tinted face oil- so good. Snag some Kosas here!

See any faves?  Be sure to check out my girl Lisa’s blog post here to read up on her favorites! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to get the latest on all the giveaways!  Follow Lisa here and myself here!

Makeup Free For A Week

Makeup Free For A Week

What did it feel like going makeup free for a week?  Well, let’s first start with why I even began this journey.  I recently had an experience where I was judging my own mother- I know sounds horrible.  Honestly, I feel bad even writing it.  I was at church and I saw my mom and my first thought was,  oh she isn’t wearing makeup.  Now, my mom definitely doesn’t wear makeup all the time and doesn’t even wear a lot.  She has amazing skin and is naturally gorgeous.  However, whenever you go to church you put your face on- or at least that’s what I thought.  I remember seeing her and thinking why aren’t you wearing makeup?  Are you starting the trend like many women as they age and just go bare faced?  I was concerned she wasn’t taking care of herself.  Fast forward a couple of days later and I found out she couldn’t wear makeup for a while because she had a procedure done on her eyes.  As you can imagine I felt horrible!  What kind of daughter judges her own mother for not wearing makeup, but secondly what type of daughter does it after her mom has gone through several eye treatments?  Well apparently me.

It got me thinking really hard.  What is my relationship with makeup?  Why did I feel the need to care if my mom was wearing makeup or not?  Better yet, does makeup define my appearance?  These are questions I really sat with for a while.  Then I started to realize I didn’t like what my answers were.  Who do I blame for these feelings of judgment on myself and others?  Society, associations with family and friends and growing up reading the latest fashion and style magazines.  Now I’m not trying to point fingers but I do want to bring to light these 3 areas as I feel they do affect us more than we realize.

Want to learn how to create the best natural skincare routine?  Check my full blog post out here!

Society- We see it on TV all the time, women who are successful put their makeup on in the morning and look put together before going to work.  I mean do you really see successful women trotting into the office with no makeup?  Maybe you do- which is great!  But often I find we are portrayed that successful women put themselves together (hair and makeup) and unsuccessful women don’t.  I even recently heard someone saying on social media how we should make sure we’re taking time to get our makeup on because we want to look good for our husbands and it sets the tone for the day.  If my husband’s love is based on me getting my makeup on for the day, then is it even love?

Clean Living Natural

Join the 5 Day Clean Living Challenge and start living your best natural life!

Family/Friends- How you grow up obviously has a big effect on how you see the world.  You may have grown up with a mom who never would go anywhere without makeup, you hardly knew what she looked like without it.  Your friends started wearing makeup early on, and so you followed suit.  You realized you got more attention from guys when you wore makeup, you felt accepted by your peers.  Maybe your dad only complimented you when you had makeup on.

Fashion/Style Magazines- Yes, magazines.  The power of magazines is real and I’m living proof.  I remember I loved flipping through them as a teenager(keep in mind these are crucial formative years).  Those glossy, perfectly polished photos called to me!  I want my skin to look like that, I wanted that lip color for my lips, and I realized my eyelashes could use a boost.  What really happened as I was perusing the latest magazines was the fact that I wasn’t measuring up.  Mmm…sounds almost like social media these days!  I realized I needed makeup in order to look like all the pretty models in the magazine.  It could make me feel complete.

natural beauty no makeup

Barefaced for a week.

So here’s what I did…I went makeup free for a week.  No makeup touched my skin.  I was bared faced for everyone.  It didn’t matter what was on my calendar.  I want to share my takeaways and what I learned in the process about myself.

  • My skin actually looked so much better after a week of no makeup. It was clearer, healthier looking and less congested.
  • I saved time getting ready each morning.
  • I realized my identity was oddly tied up in “putting my face on” each morning.  In the past if I didn’t put my face on then I was staying at the house all day and wearing lululemon pants.  But when you are going to meet up with friends and you’re not wearing any makeup…things start to feel different.
  • I felt like I needed to explain to people I wasn’t wearing makeup- why?  This was a weird realization.  I noticed it first with my hubs and then on Instagram…it was so odd that I felt the need to almost apologize for not wearing makeup!
  • Although my face felt clean, I didn’t feel completely put together.  It was like I kept forgetting something.
  • I realized how much my focus is on my appearance sadly.
  • It was weird to do my hair and wear nice clothes but not wear makeup…like I had all the pieces but one.
  • I kept thinking throughout the week, I wonder if people think I’m just not trying or caring for myself?

As you can see I had a lot of realizations as I went through this no makeup journey.  Realizations I wasn’t necessarily proud of.  But my hope is that by being vulnerable with you, it will cause you to take a deeper look at why you paint your face each day.  It’s not that makeup is bad or the enemy.  But the immense value and weight we place on it in our lives.  I don’t want my girls growing up thinking makeup is needed for beauty.  Beauty is so much deeper than that.  Makeup is fun and I enjoy trying new lipsticks and color palettes!  I don’t intend to stop.  However, I will go days without wearing it, and being barefaced when it might seem uncomfortable.  If I want my girls to embrace themselves fully, then I must first embrace myself.  Flaws and all.

Beauty is not painted nails, a perfectly toned body, or wearing the latest makeup product.   Sure those are pretty things but beauty is so much deeper.  Beauty is seeing my daughter pick out her outfit for the day and wearing it proudly even when it doesn’t match.  It’s seeing my Gracie Girl giggle at her sister.  It’s watching my hubs sing my girls to sleep.  Trust me, I ‘m not trying to get all mushy.  But I’m trying to paint a picture of what beauty really is.  It’s not the fake, the fluff or the exterior.  It’s the simple things we see everyday that are truly beautiful.  As a natural beauty blogger it’s important I share this message with my daughters.  Makeup has it’s place as a fun hobby.  But it’s not have it’s place as part of who I am.  I’m not going to stop wearing makeup- no not at all.  I’ve just become more aware of what I don’t want it to be and where it’s place is in my life.  The minute I feel I’m not who I am without it, is the minute I need another makeup detox week to realign my true values.

Let’s stop letting society decide what beauty is and let’s make our own definition.

Have you found yourself ever wrestling with these thoughts? If you want my full skincare routine, check it out here!

Natural Beauty Box November Roundup

Natural Beauty Box November Roundup

Ok, it’s time for the monthly natural beauty box November roundup!  I finally took the cue from my green beauty blogger bestie- Lisa from This Organic Girl and I’m creating a round up!  I’ve been doing individual posts but many of you seemed excited when I polled you about the green beauty box roundup that I thought I would give it a try and see how it goes.  So cheers to one post with lots of juicy green beauty boxes!

Beauty Heroes-

Natural Skincare review Beauty Heroes

Check out Beauty Heroes November Discovery- Natural Inlight Skincare! (Photo Cred. Beauty Heroes)

This month we are seeing Inlight in the box.  This is a luxe brand made in the UK.  The mastermind behind this skincare line is Dr. Mariano Spiezia.  His creations come to life through plant alchemy.  He uses the brilliance of plants to create skincare products that perform.  He has one formula that he’s particularly known for and it’s infused in all of his formulas. This formula is called the Bio-lipophilic Matrix®.  This blend of beneficial plant-based phytonutrient oils imitate the sebum’s texture while guarding and restoring the skin.  Sounds like something I want in my skincare products!

The heroic product for the month is the Line Softener Intensive. The name just as it suggests helps to soften lines and bring a youthfulness to the skin. It’s filled with so many plant oils, and smells divine!  Oils such as macademia, argan, jojoba and many more. Your skin literally is getting nourished with the plants and yet you’re not left with a greasy feel.  It comes in a dark glass jar and the cutest wooden spoon to scoop the product out with.  I apply it at night and wake up to refreshed skin!

The sidekick is the Super Food Mask. Another noteworthy product from Inlight.  It’s filled with antioxidants that help promote cell turnover and collagen production.  It also replenishes the skin’s moisture balance and protects the skin from environmental factors through spirulina, chlorophyll, barley leaf and rose hip seed oil.  It’s a winning combination!  Leave it on for 10 minutes and watch your skin transform!

Snag the Beauty Hereo’s Box here!  It’s a $187 value but yours for $42.95! Subscribe here! 

Art of Organics-

Art Of Organics Natural Beauty

The Art of Organics Natural Beauty November Beauty Box is here! Featuring AMLY Botanicals! (Photo Cred. Art Of Organics)

This month we are seeing two products from the British line AMLY Botanicals.  This brand is also based out of the UK and is a new one to me!  Their products represent a blending of old and new.  They use many old traditional ways in their formulas but also love to implement new methods using bio-actives.  Basically you end up with a skincare line that is positively active and alive!

The first product is their City Screen Protective Face Serum.  This isn’t like any other face cream you’ve used- trust me.  It’s full of active ingredients that literally change your skin and improve the overall protection of the skin.  It fills positively lovely on the skin.  My skin feels soft, supple and protected- which makes sense.  The ingredients creating this protection on the skin are echinacea, marine algae, gotu kola, nettle, green tea and marine samphire.  This serum is perfect for those who want to help give their skin an extra layer of protection whether you’re in the city or in the country.  Love applying this before my makeup!

The second product is Digital Detox.  This is their silver rich face mist.  I didn’t think much of this mist when I saw it but once I read up on it and used it, I must say I’ve become quite hooked!  It’s meant to not only help you remove toxins from your skin but also invigorate you and your immediate dwelling. It’s meant to help get rid of the negative effects of the digital exposure we constantly are under.  From your office, or work space to your home- this mist does some serious detoxing!  I already have big plans to take it with me on my travels in a few weeks.  The ingredients are meant to help detoxify the air from himalyan pink sea salt, and magnesium sulfate.  Plus, juniper fruit oil and ylang ylang help ease mental fog.  If you see me, I’m probably carrying this with me!

Snag the Art of Organics Box here!  It’s $128 value but yours for $41.95!  Subscribe here!

The Detox Box-

The-Detox-Box-Natural-Beauty

The Detox Box November Natural Beauty Box featuring: Odacite.

Odacite is taking center stage this month in The Detox Box!  I have had the pleasure of trying many Odacite products and I have to say they don’t disappoint.  The Maker of Odacite is Valerie Grandury.  A breast cancer survivor, who was on the search for natural skincare products.  However, she didn’t find them.  As a result she created Odacite!  It’s a mix of luxe French skincare with laid back vibes of California living.  A perfect marriage if you ask me!

This month we are seeing the All-Embracing Serum.  This isn’t just for your face but for your whole body!  An oil that does it all- yep you heard me right.  Hydrating watermelon seed oil, calming and soothing oatmeal are just two of the power ingredients in this decadent oil.  I massage it on my skin right after showering while my skin is slightly damp and it soaks in so nicely.  I also love using it on my face too.  I apply after my hydrosol and my skin just soaks it all up.  It’s such a multi-tasker! Plus, you can’t go wrong with a dark glass bottle- swoon!

I was also delighted to see the Black Mint Cleanser in the box- a fave!  I was excited to see it come in a travel size tube.  I have the large glass bottle- not so friendly for traveling.  This cleanser feels cooling on the skin, gets rid of all dirt and makeup and leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean.  Wait, there’s more in this month’s box!  You also receive a crystal contour GUA SHA.  This rose quartz gua sha tool is perfect for performing facial massage.  Facial massage is such an amazing way to increase circulation, drain lymphatic system, and reduce puffiness.  I apply a little of the All-Embracing Serum first then I use the gua sha.  Trust me, once you incorporate gua sha into your life you’ll never go back!

Snag The Detox Box here!  It’s $147 value but yours for $55! Subscribe here!

So which box are you snagging?! So many great options for Christmas Gifts too!  If you haven’t checked out my Natural Gift Guide be sure too!  It is packed full of my top picks for anyone on your list!  Check it out here! 

Natural Holiday Gift Guide

Natural Holiday Gift Guide

Ok, my natural Holiday Gift Guide is here!  So excited to share it with you!  It may only be Nov. 2nd but before we know it Christmas will be here.  I wanted to give you a head start on gift giving.  I love getting the perfect gift for my family and friends.  Now more than ever I find myself wanting to get gifts that support a healthy lifestyle, give back or are sustainable- if I can get all 3 then I’m really winning!  There are so many wonderful companies creating change and making an impact.  I’ve listed below my top 10 favorite natural and sustainable gift ideas for 2018.  Then I’ve created the ultimate Natural Christmas Gift Guide to bring you 6 different guides depending on who or what you’re shopping for.  The guides include gift ideas for baby/kids, natural skincare, natural makeup, men, nontoxic home, and natural kitchen.  I’ve got something for everyone on your list!  Not only are these gift ideas great for your health but many are great for the environment too.  A win/win!

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I wanted to share my top 10 favorite Natural and Sustainable Gift Ideas for 2018 in hopes that it would help to bring awareness to the countless companies and small businesses that are really creating serious positive impact and change.  I love this quote by Anne Lappe-

Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.

I couldn’t agree more.  Talking about the problem is good but putting our money where our mouth is creates true impact.  Never discount your small gesture, purchase towards a business that’s doing it right.  It all counts and matters.  The more people bring awareness and spend money on natural, sustainable and ethical goods, the more the industry will move in that direction.  Another quote I love is-

If it’s to be it’s up to me. 

Let’s all start thinking about what we can do, because it all counts. Check out my top 10 natural/sustainable favorites below and then be sure to download the other guides to get a jump on the Christmas shopping!

Top 10 Favorite Natural & Sustainable Gift Ideas For 2018-

  1. Everlane Women’s Apparel When it comes to ethical clothing brands Everlane takes the cake.  This brand goes above and beyond to ensure their products not only are ethically made but that they’re completely transparent with their customer from start to finish.  The quality is impeccable too.  It’s time to start bringing light to what is happening to the clothing industry and share brands that are pioneering sustainable clothing. Check out Everlane Women’s Apparel
  2. Earth Easy Denim Apron-Nothing gets you in the spirit of cooking like a snazzy new apron!  This one is made with hemp and a blend of organic cotton.  Cooking our food is one the best investments we can make in our health and our environment!  Less food wrappers, less waste.  No too mention the amazing health benefits our bodies receive when we cook our food.  Our kids will thank us later in life as they had a foundation of real food to grow up on.  If you or someone you know needs some motivation to get back in the kitchen I suggest grabbing this apron. It might just bring out a little Marth Stewart in you!  Check out the Earth Easy Denim Apron here!
  3. Joco Glass Reusable Coffee Cup- I was on the hunt for the longest time for a legit reusable nontoxic coffee cup- think I finally found it.  I didn’t want one that was made from stainless steel because stainless steel can leach heavy metals at times- particularly with hot beverages.  I also didn’t want ceramic since many ceramics can contain lead.  I was on the search for glass and I found it!  No plastic either!  Plus, I find my hot drink will taste funky if I use stainless steel.  I’m not perfect when it comes to always bringing my cup with me if I get a hot beverage somewhere but I want to be better!  Even if one person bought 3 coffees a week and used a reusable cup it would save up to 156 cups a year!  Think it doesn’t matter?  It does.  Check out the Joco cup here!
  4. Marley Monsters- I’m pretty sure we could all conserve a little more when it comes to using less paper, plastic, etc.  Marley Monsters is a company I started to buy things from years ago and I love how much they’ve grown!  They have everything from reusable paper towels, cloth napkins, cloth wipes for babies, facial rounds, nursing pads- one of my faves.  I can’t recommend their products enough!  Investing in reusable products creates less waste but also saves you money in the long run.  What a cool gift to give someone to get them started on using less.  Check out Marley Monsters here!
  5. WillowCoDesign Shirts- I found this cute shop on Etsy and fell in love with all their organic t-shirts for babies and kids.  They have the cutest sayings!  I love supporting small businesses and people that are making a difference.  This business is owned by a mama who is sharing her passion for whole living.  Some of my favorite shirts or onesies are Strong Like My Mama, and Forest Child.  Check out WillowCoDesign Shirts here!
  6. The Cotton and Canvas Co. Tote- Ok, we hear it all the time- bring a reusable bag, but do we really understand why?  The US alone uses 380 billion plastic bags per year according to the EPA(Environmental Protection Agency).  Most people only use one plastic bag for 12 minutes.  These single use plastics are adding up and producing some serious problems for the environment and humans.  They’re filling up landfills and then getting into our water systems.  Our water ends up contaminated and so does our oceans.  What can we do?  Simple, bring a reusable shopping bag with us.  They have so many cute one’s now!  Cotton Canvas Tote is an etsy shop that carries so many options and they have such fun sayings on them.  You can even design your own!  I’m in the process of doing it- you may be in for a giveaway on Instagram soon!  Check out Cotton Canvas Tote here!
  7. Panda Sunglasses- Just when you thought sunglasses couldn’t get any cooler in comes Panda!  Besides being absolutely chic, Panda sunglasses are made of sustainably harvested bamboo.  Panda also gives back to those in need.  Whenever someone purchases from the Original or Ultralight collection Panda gives back by giving either an eye exam or new glasses to someone in need.  I also love that the sunglasses are polarized, and offer complete UVA/UVB protection.  Panda also offers free shipping anywhere!  Check out Panda Sunglasses here!
  8. Natural Beauty- You didn’t think I was going to share my top 10 natural and sustainable products and not mention how important natural beauty is?!  When the average woman puts on 12 products a day, that can put a person at quite a toxic load.  It’s not the random product you use once in a while that matters but the products you use all the time that create a toxic burden.  Many people are just unaware of the amazing natural beauty products out there now!  There is literally an alternative to anything you might have used in conventional beauty.  Anyone would be excited to get some new nontoxic beauty products!  Some stores I love shopping at for natural beauty products are The Detox Market, Aillea and Pharmaca.  Also, be sure to download my full Natural Gift Guide to get my top recommendations for natural beauty and natural skincare options!
  9. Organic Sheets and Pillows- Another heavy hitter when it comes to toxic burden.  They say we sleep for a 1/3 of our lives.  That’s a lot of hours logged on our sheets and pillows.  Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops.  Being doused with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.  However, that’s not the only thing we should be concerned about.  Sheets often contain formaldehyde, and toxic dyes too.  There are also toxic softeners that are used now on bedding, creating a recipe for a toxic sleep experience!  It’s not just our bodies we should be concerned about but also our environment.  As the toxic chemicals from conventional sheets end up in our waterways.  I love Sol Organix and Huut for organic, ethically made sheet sets.  Use coupon code: GGG25 for 25% off your sheets at Sol Organix or Huut!  I also love White Lotus Home for pillows!  My whole family has pillows from them and we can’t stop talking about them.  They have so many different varieties, depending on how you sleep.  Use my coupon code: GGG for 20% off!
  10. Imperfect Produce- I found Imperfect Produce a while back and was excited about their whole mission!  They take imperfect produce from local farms that would otherwise go to waste and deliver to people.  Not only does this reduce food waste but you’re also getting quality produce for a deal!  You save 30% off grocery store prices and the produce is delivered to your door.  I’ve never heard someone complain about saving money.  They offer organic or conventional produce.  You might be thinking how does this work?  Allow me to explain.  Imperfect Produce sources veggies straight from farms, you as a consumer customize your box each week to get what you want, then you get your box delivered to your home. If you don’t think this is a bid deal it is!  So far Imperfect Produce has saved over 30 million pounds of food, 900 million gallons of water, 12 million dollars saved on groceries and 91 million pounds of C02 saved.  I think it’s making an impact.  Give someone the gift of health, while at the same time changing the world- Check out Imperfect Produce here!  

See anything you’re going to snag for a gift?  What are your favorite natural and sustainable gift ideas?  Leave me a comment!

The Best Nontoxic Cookware

The Best Nontoxic Cookware

I finally rounded out the best nontoxic cookware!  I have received this question so much within the last 6 months that I knew I needed to write a blog post.  It’s crazy how many toxic chemicals can be lurking in cookware.  It might not seem like a big deal but over time these chemicals add up and produce a toxic load!

So What’s In The Average Pot or Pan?

I’m sure you’ve either used nonstick pots or pans or heard of them.  These pans may make it easy to cook your food with but unfortunately they carry dangerous toxic exposure as well!  Nontoxic cookware usually contains this chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA.  Science has shown that it can stay in human bodies for long periods of time.   It has even shown to cause cancer in lab studies done on animals.

While cancer is nothing to bat an eye at, it also can cause infertility, liver damage, plus delayed development just to name a few other things.  Of course PFOA isn’t the only ingredient you want to avoid in your cookware.  Things like aluminum, plastic, lead, teflon, and cadmium.  These all pose a serious risk to our health and should be avoided.

When living out a natural lifestyle one of the foundations is cooking your food.  It’s no secret that when you cook your own food, you’re getting more nourishment usually then when going out.  However, if the cookware we constantly use is leaching out harmful toxins we may be doing ourselves a disservice.  As I mentioned earlier it’s the toxic load over time that really adds up.  These chemicals are literally getting into the food we’re eating and then absorbed by our bodies.

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So What Is Safe?

There are some great options out there now when it comes to nontoxic cookware!  I will say some of the cookware definitely are a little pricier than non-stick- however the investment is worth it.  These pots and pans are going to last you a lot longer than many conventional pots and pans and won’t carry the toxic burden.

Favorites-

Cast Iron-

This was the first type of nontoxic cookware that I switched over too and I still love it.  It really has been around forever and that’s one of the reasons I love it.  It does take a little bit of time to get used to it but once you’ve worked with it you figure it out.  I really love the Lodge cast iron pans.  They’re easy to find at Target or you can order them on Amazon.  They’re also budget friendly!  I use this pan for cooking eggs,  meats, frying- really the list is endless. A couple tips when using cast iron.  Make sure and slowly add heat.  I found this works best instead of blasting the food with heat.  It helps to not burn food.  Cast iron retains heat very well.  Also, make sure you season it regularly. This helps to create a type of natural nonstick surface.  If you’re unsure how to season it, The Wellness Mama did a whole blog post on it here.  When you season a cast iron it’s basically adding a good oil to keep it hydrated and then baking it.  I avoid cooking acidic foods in cast iron because it can break down the seasoning or patina that’s been made on the cast iron.  Cleaning cast iron can seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually not.  You don’t want to use soap with cast iron- it can damage the seasoning and dry it out.  Instead, use some salt to clean it.  I just shake salt on top and then take a scrubby and scrub away.  Then rinse with water. Then you want to dry it and rub in a cooking oil. *The one caution I would make is that cast iron has been known to leach iron so if for some reason you have an abundance of iron you might want to switch up your pans every now and then.  I’ve been the opposite more anemic so I welcome all the iron I can get! Check out Lodge Cast Iron here!

Stainless Steel-

This is another option.  It is unique because it comes in many varieties and types.  In other words not all stainless steel is created equal. Stainless steel is made up of a combination of metals.  Some of the most common metals are chromium and nickel.  The chromium is what helps to protect against rusting and is nontoxic for the most part in the body.  Our bodies do need chromium in small amounts but it’s not that much and if you eat a fairly healthy diet you may already be getting more than you need.  Nickel on the other hand is used to give stainless steel that extra hardness and to give it that polished look.  However, it isn’t great for our bodies.  There is virtually no reason for us to consume nickel.  Your best bet is to buy food grade stainless steel.  When shopping you will see numbers like 200, 304, 316 and 430.  These numbers represent the series of stainless steel.  For example, a 300 series may corrode easier then a 400 series. Whereas a 400 series is going to be the strongest and have almost no nickel.  Of course the 400 series will cost more!  I wouldn’t buy anything less than a 304 for overall quality. You will also see numbers 18/8, 18/10 or 18/0. The first number represents the amount of chromium and the second number the amount of nickel.  It’s also important to not use harsh cleaners when cleaning stainless steel because it can cause damage to the lining. When the lining is damaged the heavy metals can leach into the food a lot easier.  Personally, although this option is safer than many I still prefer not to cook with it all the time because of the possible metal content leaching into food, especially if the food your cooking is acidic. Also, many stainless steel cookware has a layer of aluminum in between the stainless steel.  So it’s important to note that if your stainless steel was to get scratched you need to stop using it. You may also see copper sandwiched in the in-between layer as well.  They do this because both aluminum and copper are heat conductors.  From what I’ve read and researched since the aluminum isn’t coming into contact with the food and is protected by stainless steel it’s fine to have it in the cookware. *Some people already have high levels of heavy metals in their bodies and cooking with stainless steel wouldn’t be a good idea.  However, many people might be fine.  I know a lot of people who use it only for certain things and then other foods that might be more acidic they use different cookware.  One more important tidbit is that commercial kombucha is brewed in large stainless steel vats and since kombucha is acidic it is soaking up all those heavy metals. Even though it’s housed in glass it’s best to steer clear of  store bought kombucha and make your own at home. Check out this great set of stainless steel cookware here!

Xtrema

This has been my newest cookware option that I’ve started to use for the last several months and really have come to love!  It is different than both stainless steel and cast iron.  From the glaze on the cookware to the core it’s made with 100% ceramic.  Ceramic is awesome because it’s completely inert- meaning it won’t leach any harmful toxins.  All of Xtrema has been tested for heavy metal content and is free from glues, polymers, coatings and dyes. If you want to see their testing results check them out here.  Plus, it’s dish washer safe- something all the mamas can get behind! It heats very evenly too.  You can even take a dish from the fridge to the stove or oven- it’s very versatile. It also can withstand high temperatures.  It’s easy to clean Xtrema cookware too, just use warm soapy water.  You can also use baking soda or an abrasive scrubby if you need to.  The best way to heat an Xtrema is to turn the heat on low or low medium.  Since it’s so great at heat conduction you don’t need or want to crank the heat up to high.  Doing this would result in foods sticking or burning.  It’s best to turn the heat on a couple minutes before you start cooking and then add a little cooking oil once it’s heated.  I like avocado oil, ghee or coconut oil.  Don’t add the oil to a cold pan, wait until it’s heated up or it will cause foods to stick.  Personally, I love cooking with Xtrema!  I have their 8-inch Versa Braiser.  It’s nice because it has a lid and can be used for cooking meats, quiches, casseroles etc, but also can be used for cooking eggs with.  *Beware, there is a lot of deceptive marketing around ceramic cookware.  It may say ceramic but it is coated with a nonstick chemical.  The only company I’m aware of that is a true ceramic, with no additives is Xtrema.  Xtrema

Porcelain Enamel-

There has been a lot of confusion I’ve noticed about this type of cookware.  It is cast iron but then has been given a coating of enamel.  This enamel is a type of glass.  It is completely safe.  There has been some controversy about the enamel being made of clay and therefore having lead but from various tests performed on it, there has been no lead detection reported.  A common brand you may think of is Le Creuset.  Their cookware is made in France.  One might think that porcelain enamel is similar to cast iron and that is true but it does have it’s differences.  Porcelain Enamel will not rust where regular cast iron can if not seasoned properly.  Also, porcelain enamel won’t leach iron because of the coating, where cast iron will.  Porcelain enameled is also nice to have for acidic foods like chili or spaghetti sauces.  Acidic foods as I mentioned above can strip cast iron of it’s seasoning, especially when simmered for a long period of time.  For cleaning you can use some mild dish soap on it and a scrub pad of some kind.  For stubborn stains or food that’s stuck you can boil some water in it with a few tablespoons of baking soda.  Let it sit for a few hours or overnight.  *Personally I love having a porcelain enamel skillet on hand too.  It’s great for using with acidic foods or making stir frys, soups, or stews.  I would stick with Le Creuset.  To my knowledge they are the only ones that have been tested for lead content and come back negative.  The only small trace amounts that were found were on the outside of the lids and pots where there was some color but not inside.  Also, I’m a skeptic of things made in China as they have been known to have higher metal content and most of the other porcelain enameled is made there. Check out Porcelain Enamel cookware here!

Glass Cookware-

This is a great budget friendly option that’s available almost anywhere cookware is sold.  One of the most common glass cookware is called Pyrex.  It is inert, meaning it doesn’t add or take away from the food.  I have several casserole or baking dishes whatever you like to call them.  I use them for both casseroles and special desserts.  I also have a round glass dish with a lid that’s great for soups or stews that I use a lot.  For making breads I like to use a glass bread loaf pan too.  *Glass is a great option for those starting to detox their cookware and looking for accessible and budget friendly options.  I have even seen really good deals on Pyrex glass sets at Costco! Check out this Pyrex set here!  Check out this great set by Anchor Hocking here!

Bakeware-

When it comes to baking you can use a lot of the cookware I mentioned above but there are a few other options too.  For the ones mentioned above you can use cast iron to bake breads, or porcelain enamel for desserts such as crumbles, cobblers or pies.  Also, glass cookware is a great option for baking too, as well as stainless steel.  Stainless steel is especially nice for cookie sheets or cake pans! These are a great option for stainless steel cookie sheets! If you’re still concerned about the possible metal leakage just use some parchment paper.  I love this brand that doesn’t leach any toxic chemicals.  I use parchment paper when baking always because it makes clean up so much easier and is sometimes essential when making cakes.  You can also get stainless steel muffin trays.  Another option I haven’t talked about is stone cookware.  They have stone baking sheets, loaf pans and cake pans.  I personally haven’t used them.  I know that you have to be really careful when cleaning as you can’t use soap or get them wet.  They’re also heavier too. Rada is a good American made brand that is lead free.  *When it comes to bakeware think about what you use the most and swap that out first.  As I mentioned earlier, you can always buy some nontoxic parchment paper and use that as a protectant too.  I also like these nontoxic paper muffin liners. 

I have never used silicone for cooking or baking other than some silicone muffin liners.  However, I stopped using them because I started to wonder if they were actually safe.  I had read a lot of information saying there just isn’t enough research out there yet and I agree.  Until more long term studies come out, I’m going to stick with using silicone when food isn’t heated or cooked.  

I do think it’s important to switch out your cookware because this is something you use all the time and the accumulative affect is great.  Even if you could replace one item every quarter, by the end of the year you would have a whole new cookware set!

What nontoxic cookware option do you love?

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