Sustainable, responsible & functional yoga clothing

NOTE: I worked with Fit Approach on their #pranaSpringStyle campaign on Instagram and received a free prAna top (as shown below) in compensation. I received the top after the challenge was over, and I wrote my original post about the prAna mat more than a year before this. All opinions regarding prAna are my own. Jump directly to my discount code.

As you begin to expand your yoga journey outside the physical poses (asana) of yoga and start to take your mindfulness off of the mat and into your daily life, you might find yourself more aware of what kinds of companies and business practices you are supporting with your purchases. I know that has been a part of my own journey. Not only do I try to invest my clothing dollars in products that are made sustainably, are toxin-free, and whose companies practice environmental responsibility, but the bonus has been that the quality is often higher than cheaper pieces.

I’m currently teaching four yoga classes per week, one Lagree fitness class, and I try to take at least one class from another instructor, so I spend a lot of time in my yoga clothing. I not only practice in it, but I often end up transitioning directly from a class to preschool or elementary school pickup, or to the grocery store. (If you do this a lot too, I do have a DIY tutorial for a coverup skirt you might check out!) But the point is: I am now choosing quality over quantity. I can save up longer and slowly replace my cheaper pieces with longer lasting versions.

One company that has never let me down is prAna. Not only do I recommend their non-toxic rubber yoga mat, but I have loved every single piece of clothing of theirs that I have owned. I recently had the opportunity to participate in a daily yoga challenge celebrating their Spring Style line of clothing and loved the sense of community it built. You can look back on the posts by searching Instagram for the #prAnaSpringStyle hashtag. Here are some of my favorite shots from the challenge:

Well, that final picture was actually taken after the challenge, when I had received my new grey Quinn Jacquard Top from prAna. To be honest, I wasn’t sure about it from the picture on the site but it fits wonderfully. It moves with me, doesn’t rub in irritating places, and has full frontal coverage without having to add a sports bra. LOVE. And, it is certified bluesign®, which indicates the highest standard in the textile industry for environmental health and safety and chemical management – it’s a third party certification that prAna pays for, to ensure it’s not just greenwashing.

If you happen to be looking for some high quality, high performance, sustainably & ethically produced activewear you can get 15% off any prAna purchase right now using my code: PSSS16LC

And be sure to keep following myself and prAna on Instagram for challenges, inspiration, and the day-to-day active journey!

Welcome blog #sponsor Cottonbabies: not JUST for babies!

Find out how 6 diapers can change your world! {free shipping on all US orders} Cottonbabies.com

Welcome a new blog sponsor, Cottonbabies! I actually cloth diapered both my children (consecutively and simultaneously) in BumGenius diapers, which is how I learned about Cottonbabies. You can find my posts on cloth diapering here. If you’ve been with me a while, you’ll know that I also wrote for the Cottonbabies blog for several years — definitely check it out, it’s a great resource for parents.

It might be tempting to think of Cottonbabies as a store only for mothers with babies, but it’s actually a great resource for parents of children of all ages. I want to list a few of my favorite products for children who are past the baby stage, like mine are.

We use Earth Mama Angel Baby body products a lot around here, actually. The nipple butter is ALL we use on chapped lips (I haven’t breastfed for over 3 years). It has the staying powder of Vaseline but none of the petroleum byproducts. And it stings less than most chapsticks, although my second favorite EMAB product is their lip balm. It doesn’t sting the kids at all. My son says he likes it because “it isn’t spicy”.

Eco-friendly period products. If you don’t have a tilted cervix like me and can use menstrual cups, Cottonbabies carries DivaCup. For the less adventurous, they also carry Lunapads cloth pads and organic tampons.

Piggy Paint. Little Lady is dreadfully obsessed with nail polish right now. It would be terribly toxic, if Cottonbabies didn’t carry Piggy Paint! Unlike some other eco-friendly non-toxic brands, Piggy Paint really stays put for a long time on little fingers.

All kinds of eco-friendly, educational toys. They have a whole section of Pretend Play – my kids use the tea set made from recycled plastic literally every day in their play kitchen. You can even get an eco-friendly telescope or microscope for your Big Kid from Cottonbabies!

And probably the thing you’ll be most excited about if you shop at Cottonbabies online store: FREE SHIPPING!

The Cottonbabies banner ad will be on the left column for the next 3 months, any time you need it. Visit Cottonbabies today and let me know what you think!

Living Consciously Holiday Gift Guide 2014

I’ve never done a Holiday Gift Guide before, but this year I really learned about some great brands and products that I think will truly help you give (or receive) this season in a way that will help you live more consciously in 2015, so I had to share! Please note that I do have an affiliate relationship with some of these brands, or that I might have received free products the first time I tried them, so that I would know whether I wanted to recommend them to you. I have noted which and what applies with an asterisk or affiliate relationship marked in parentheses.

My hope is that you will be able to find some amazing non-toxic gifts for anyone on your list, while giving back (see Soapbox Soaps) and supporting small businesses.

Happy Holidays!

GiftGuideKids2014v2For the Kids

Bendi Baby Yoga Mat (affiliate link) – A yoga mat specifically made to be as tall as your child and light enough to carry! Comes in two sizes: Baby and Tot. Make sure to follow them on Instagram, they have some adorable pictures!

Kids Yoga Stories – I used these books when I taught Kids Yoga and the kids LOVED them. Now there is also a set of flashcards with children doing poses to make learning the yoga poses easy for kids. I’d also recommend signing up for the weekly newsletter on this site, which comes with really neat pose sequences that you can do with your child at home.

Mama May I Shop* – An adorable boutique of handmade, sustainable toys for all ages. My kids (ages 3 and 5) absolutely LOVE telling stories to Daddy and I at night and listening to us make up stories for them with Story Starters. These handmade wooden dice have pictures printed on them in eco-friendly ink. You roll them and make up stories! They come in a metal tin with a little notebook for recording your best stories. Other toys we were interested in included play silks, Fairy Friends, and the assortment of crayon wallets!

Musical Instruments – More of a general suggestion, I wanted to include this because we recently purchased both a child’s guitar (affiliate link) and a full junior drum set (affiliate link) for our son, even though I honestly thought we were insane to do it (especially when it came to the drum set). But it hasn’t been a terrible idea, actually. I have noticed he has much better rhythm and it gives him a constructive way to use his energy. We started at the age of about 2 with this simple Melissa & Doug music set (affiliate link).

 GiftGuideAnyone2014v2Eco-friendly non-toxic gifts for anyone

Vitamix blender (affiliate link) – Although this is more of a dream item for most people, it’s absolutely worth the price tag, in my opinion! I got mine for Mother’s Day this year (2014) and still use it every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Make your own nut milk, nut butters, soups, hummus, smoothies, and even juice with your Vitamix to avoid additives and preservatives in processed foods. For ideas, check out my Vitamix recipe Pinterest board.

Board & Batten Farm to Skin* – A new concept in luxury skin and body care, this company has a “Farm to Skin” philosophy — their products are created from raw materials taken from their own farm in Florida. On their site you can purchase soy candles, charcoal soap, body creme, and a full skin care line, all packaged beautifully and ready to gift. I have tried the “Begin Again” facial buff made of organic quinoa and fruit enzymes and loved how simple yet effective it was! If you just can’t decide on a gift, try a pre-assembled gift set bundle.

Soapbox Soap Holiday Bundle* – One of my favorite discoveries at ShiftCon this year, Soapbox Soaps are in the business of giving back to those in need year-round. Every time you purchase a soap, body wash, or body lotion from Soapbox Soaps, they will donate an equivalent value to someone in need. For example, buy their famous charcoal soap and they’ll give a bar of soap to someone who doesn’t have access to soap. Buy a body wash and they donate an entire month’s worth of water to areas with no access to clean water. For a bottle of lotion, one year of vitamins to undernourished populations. My favorite item for gifting is the Holiday Gift Bundle, the purchase of which provides a bar of soap, a month of water AND a year of vitamins to someone in need!

Dolly Moo products – I won a package of Dolly Moo products in a yoga challenge this year and the scrubs quickly became my favorite. I love that the body products are made of ingredients I recognize and that all the scents come from essential oils. She also makes dried sage smudge sticks for cleansing the home. The company has a lovely Instagram page and is very committed to the yoga community in particular. Bonus: the scrubs also stand in for shaving cream on legs, leaving your legs luxuriously moisturized! Two products for the price of one!

Living Consciously Blog's Non-Toxic Gift Guide Stockings Stuffers 2014 Non-toxic Stocking stuffers/Secret Santa suggestions

Nutiva O’Coconut coconut nuggets – I loved finding these low-sugar (3g) GMO-free Fair Trade treats in my ShiftCon swag bag so much that I ordered more of my own from Vitacost.com. Flavors are Original and Hemp & Chia. The ingredients are healthy but the taste is like candy! They can be difficult to find locally, but if you have a Natural Grocer or Whole Foods near you, try the treat section. Or just buy through Vitacost (affiliate link).

Dang coconut chips Dark Chocolate – Coconut chips dipped in dark chocolate! Yum! Fair Trade, GMO free, and low in sugar. Very easy to find at any local health food store, but also available on Vitacost (affiliate link).

Miessence Rose Monsoon Hydrating Mist – The brand is committed to 100% organic skin care ingredients, and it’s a great place to find any body products or even probiotics, but their moisturizing rose water spray is something that everyone can use! Just this week I spent too much time in front of the fireplace and felt smokey — I sprayed a fine mist of the rose water all over my hair and face and the smokiness was gone! An instant mood brightener during hectic holidays, you might actually want to grab some for yourself as well as your friend. There is a discount with a purchase over $150. Be sure to click on her “Special Offers” for botanical perfumes currently more than half off!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotions – Not just for new moms and babies anymore! Here’s my last-minute pampering suggestion: Earth Mama has come out with 2 brand new lotion scents that make great teacher gifts, and you can run to your local Sprouts or Target as late as 10pm the night before and grab a bottle for $10! Put it in a cute bag with a note about how you trust your little one with such a great teacher every day and you’re done! They have all kinds of great stocking stuffers, from relaxing herbal teas to non-toxic lip balms (which are our family’s personal favorite chapstick option!) If you do want to buy online, you can always buy from Amazon (affiliate link) or directly from their web site.

 

* All items marked with an asterisk were given to me to sample by the company at some point in 2014. I liked them so much that I proceeded to purchase them with my own money and/or use them regularly. I did NOT get paid to mention any of them in this gift guide.

Real Plans real food meal planning system: gluten-free dairy-free

Real Plans meal planning system | Living Consciously

NOTE: I received a 2 week preview of the Real Plans meal planning system so that I could try it out and let you know what I think. I was not compensated monetarily for the opportunity or asked to share my experience, I am doing so of my own accord and all opinions are my own. However, links within the post and images may be affiliate links (and are labeled as such), which means that if you purchase the plan, I will get a percentage of the sale to support my blogging efforts. Thank you in advance!

RealPlans.com meal planning system: Paleo, Vegetarian, and Traditional | Living Consciously

I finally made a pot roast!

This is a big deal for someone who spent 13 years of my adult life a vegetarian and has just now learned to cook meat. My husband remembers pot roast fondly from childhood and has wistfully mentioned it several times in our marriage. I am sad to say that there have been many failed pot roasts in my past.

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been on a Paleo-ish liver detox! The plan includes eating extremely cleanly and avoiding the following:

  • all grains (including rice, corn, quinoa, oats)
  • dairy
  • added sugar (such as refined sugar, coconut sugar, honey, molasses – I still have fruit that contains natural sugars, such as dates)

Unlike my 30 day macrobiotic cleanse, I have been able to eat meat, fish, and all fruits and vegetables. I was also instructed to add sugar-free hemp protein (affiliate link) and raw greens powder (affiliate link) into smoothies and shakes several times a day to keep me full and help my body flush out.

Since I have been using a Classic version of another meal planning system for the past 2 years, I was a little overwhelmed attempting to plan Paleo-ish meals for myself and my family. It was just in time that Emily and Antony offered to let me try their new Real Plans real food meal planning system (affiliate link). I chose the Paleo plan (affiliate link), which is gluten-free and dairy-free. To my husband’s delight, this week contained pot roast!

Emily of Holistic Squid (a holistic blog) and her husband Antony designed this system and come up with the recipes. Real food means that everything is made from scratch, no prepackaged or processed foods. But, it’s actually not difficult at all!

I was surprised at how few ingredients the recipe required. It seems like the other recipes I’d tried were so much more complicated! I bought the chuck roast at Whole Foods, it was actually on sale for 50% off and was organic grass-fed!

A cool feature of the planning system – you can adjust the recipe for different serving sizes:

Real Plans meal planning system allows you to adjust the recipe serving size | Living Consciously

I was also very happy with how the shopping list and recipes were optimized for mobile. Does anyone else cook recipes straight from their iPhone? No? Well, I do! So it was nice to have the recipe formatted without clutter for easy countertop reference.

Overall, this is a super simple meal planning system that adds a fresh dose of flexibility (meal size, weekly menu). I would highly recommend it. In addition to the Paleo version, they also have a Vegetarian Plan and a Traditional Plan. If you do join, tell Emily and Antony that I sent you! Here’s the link again: RealPlans.com (affiliate link).

Get started with clean eating: Superwoman Detox Giveaway!

I get a lot of questions about how to get started eating more “cleanly”. Personally, I abide by the 80/20 rule of eating clean 80% of the time and eating not as cleanly 20% of the time or less. I don’t go overboard or eat junk during that 20%, but sometimes when I got to restaurants, for example, I don’t know exactly what oils they used to cook their food and I can’t guarantee that the produce is organic or non-GMO. I let those instances fall under the 20% of less-than-clean-eating.

However, if you are new to clean eating, you might only be eating cleanly 20% of the time and are looking for a way to get that percentage higher without your head exploding from too much information and without agonizing over what to buy at the grocery store. I have a solution for you! And you’ll be helping a friend of mine expand her health-focused and woman-owned small business at the same time.

I’m so excited to be teaming up with Kristen over at MIX | wellness solutions for a balanced life and some of my favorite bloggers to give YOU the chance to reclaim your inner Superwoman (or man) and WIN a coveted spot in The Superwoman Slim Down: A Real Food Detox & Cleanse for Real Women (a $347 value!) – (affiliate link)! Read all about it here.

20140613-193016-70216683.jpg

This is NOT your average detox. The Superwoman Slim Down is a fully-supported “done-for you” 21 day 100% REAL FOOD, hunger-free program led by experienced registered nurse, certified health and wellness coach, and certified specialist in fitness nutrition, Kristen Boucher! She will teach you step-by-step how to feel better than you ever imagined in your own skin, while eating delicious, nutrient-dense, metabolism-boosting foods and (finally) making your health a priority!

Superwoman Whats Included

Included in the program:

  • Three recorded training calls with Kristen to listen to at your convenience delivered over three weeks so that you are updated each week with what to do next  ($300 value)

  • Sample Menu Plans complete with 3 meals per day & list of snacks that you can eat to keep the hunger at bay ($100 value)

  • Preparation Checklist with a list of suggested items to have in your fridge, pantry, and home to follow the plan ($100 value)

  • Recipes For Radiance Cookbook which includes over 75 delicious, whole food recipes outlined in the Menu Plan ($50 value)

  • Detailed Detox Guidebook with all the info and resources you’ll need and then some ($100 value)

  • Workbook and personal assessment guide that will serve to show you how far you’ve come once you complete the program and help you to play detective to learn if you have any food allergies or sensitivities ($50 value)

  • Cooking and Food Preparation Tips and Tools Guide ($10 value)

  • Toxin Reduction Tips and Tools Guide ($10 value)

  • Meal Planning and Shopping List Fun Sheets ($10 value)

  • A 4-Week Detox Calendar laying out every step of the program, what to, and when to do it ($10 value)

  • Email support during the cleanse ($100 value)

  • Lifetime access to all materials, including updates for future programs ($100 value)

  • Bonus #1: Private Facebook community available to you 24/7 that is moderated by Kristen to ask questions (and get answers), share your insights, challenges, and experiences, and make a few new friends along the way ($100 value)
  • Bonus #2: Exclusive 3-video “Yoga Detox” series created exclusively for the Superwoman Slim Down by Be Yoga ($100 value)

 

Check out what these former Superwomen have to say about it here.

You can purchase this program at any time using this link (affiliate link, which I’ll be placing in the right sidebar), or you can enter to win it for FREE below!

Giveaway Details

One winner will receive FREE ACCESS to The Superwoman Slim Down: A Real Food Detox & Cleanse for Real Women (a $347 value) (affiliate link).

How to enter the giveaway:

1. Sign up for the MIX | wellness solutions for a balanced life email newsletter.
2. Like MIX | wellness solutions for balanced life on Facebook.
3. Use Rafflecopter (below) to log your entries and unlock bonus entries.

***Be sure to visit all the blogs responsible for this giveaway to unlock more chances to win!***

The Crunchy Moose
Good Girl Gone Green
Kula Mama
Overthrow Martha
Life Sanity
Loula Natural
Homegrown & Healthy
Refocus On Being
Happy Healthnut
Cheerfully Imperfect
The Healthy Honeys
Yogi Mami
Real Time Mama
Don’t Mess with Mama
Happy Mothering
beautyandthefoodie.comThe Darling Bakers
MIX | wellness solutions for a balanced life
Coco’s Well

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Fine Print

The giveaway ends at midnight ET, June 30, 2014. I will announce the lucky winner on July 1, 2014. Once contacted, the lucky winner will have 48 hours to respond with his/her full name and email address. There is no purchase necessary to win. This giveaway is open to everyone except where prohibited by law.

End of my #30daycleanse Macrobiotic eating

Macrobiotic eating for 30 days - my conclusions | Conscientious Confusion

Only 4 more days until the end of my macrobiotic eating experiment! It’s been an interesting journey. You can read more about the challenges on my Day 3 and Day 5 summaries, as well as what I learned about patience, flexibility, and living.

After nearly 30 days without sugar, gluten, yeast, meat, or dairy, here are my conclusion and takeaways (NOTE: These thoughts are my own and not representative of Miessence, Ely Organics, or any sponsor):

  • It’s scary how even someone who eats as “clean”ly as I do can be so addicted to natural added sugars. I had flu-like withdrawal symptoms for 2-3 days! Frightening that my body was so dependent on sugar.
  • Did this way of eating help my digestive and skin issues? No. I had exactly the same stomach bloating, churning, and nausea as always. My skin followed exactly the same breakout patterns it always has, actually getting worse in this last week. My digestive issues have also worsened.
  • There was no “detox flare-up” of my skin in the first 10-14 days as I was initially warned. The only detox symptoms I had were the dizziness, disorientation, and lack of energy from the sugar withdrawal the first 2-3 days.
  • I did not miss bread as much as I thought I would! I will be glad to be able to eat my homemade bread again, but skipping it for 4 weeks was doable.
  • Will I keep up this way of eating? No, not exactly. I will continue reducing my sugar intake and avoiding most dairy. I have always been vegetarian. I will probably attempt to start substituting my whole wheat bread for sprouted grain.
  • I crash at 3pm regardless of eating sugar or not. You know that myth that it’s the sugar from your midday meal that causes the 2-3pm crash in energy? Nope. I haven’t eaten sugar for 25 days now and I still get that crash every day. This was something I wasn’t expecting to disprove.
  • I was able to notice that I do crave sweets when I am either a) stressed or, b) tired. Good to know. Several times I went to bed earlier than planned just to avoid being tempted by sweets.
  • If you choose this eating plan, watch the coconut oil. Since coconut oil is the only oil I was allowed to have, and I was told to only cook things in cast iron or stainless steel pots (microwave use is discouraged), I had to use a significant amount of coconut oil just to warm things to eat. Reminder: coconut oil, regardless of its myriad health benefits, IS a saturated fat. Meaning that it increases cholesterol and negative affects your skin (breakouts). I noticed this too late and it did not help my skin situation.
  • Recommend the Miessence probiotic organic superfoods, InLiven and Fast Tract. I will look into keeping up with these. They were super gentle on my stomach and contain some amazing antioxidants. I have struggled with finding probiotics that are gentle yet effective. Most of the store brands have made me sick. These are great!
  • Would I do this again? I think I will try to make this type of cleanse a regular thing, only for a shorter period of time. A diet this restrictive makes social situations very difficult and sometimes awkward. I think 5-10 days time would be more ideal.

So far, those have been my takeaways! Do you have any questions for me about the eating plan? Have you ever eaten macrobiotic? What did YOU think?

Certified organic skin care: Miessence

Disclaimer: My friend Erin of Ely Organics provided the Miessence skin care products to me at no cost in order to help me try to solve my skin woes. I am so grateful! All opinions are my own. Please take a minute to visit Ely Organics and learn more about the products and specials she has going on right now.

Green My Routine

Miessence Certified Organic Skin Care

Along with the Miessence superfoods that I’m taking during my 30 day cleanse for restructuring my insides naturally, I’m also using a new line of certified organic skin care to treat my cystic acne naturally from the outside.

Here are the products I’m using and a little about each one.

Purifying Cleanser – a purifying cleanser with fresh organic lemon peel oil, witch hazel and burdock. I can attest that it does leave the skin feeling soft, clean and fresh, without feeling stripped and dry.

After cleansing I use one of these two treatments, but not both:

Purifying Mineral Mask – specifically formulated for problem skin with natural green clay, organic echinacea and witch hazel to tone and purify the skin. Contains the wonderful properties of organic lavender, lemon myrtle from country Queensland and tea tree from the forests in northern New South Wales.

OR

Garnet Exfoliant – works effectively to clear congestion resulting from a build-up of dead, dry surface skin cells. The best scrub ever, with a fresh citrus blend of organic lemon, bergamot and orange.

Then, I follow with this series:

Balancing Skin Conditioner – gentle version of a toner, conditioning is a vital step in the Miessence skincare regime. Conditioning has a twofold purpose: firstly, to feed the skin with nutrients in the water-soluble botanicals, organic herbs, vitamins and essential oils, and secondly, to provide a hydration base for the moisturizer to lock in.

Purifying Blemish Gel – a potent and powerful blend of healing and calming organic herbs and flowers, including purifying thyme, healing plantain, clarifying echinacea and soothing marshmallow. Contains the potent properties of organic lavender, lemon myrtle from country Queensland and tea tree from the forests in northern New South Wales. (this is supposed to be a spot treatment but I have to use it pretty much all over my face since my face is covered in spots)

Organic Balancing Moisturizer – a creamy moisturizer with significant and lasting effects on skin hydration and smoothness. Formulated with plant phospholipids, organic seed butters and oils, organic herbs and flowers to maintain healthy skin. Contains organic rosehip seed oil, jojoba, calendula, chamomile, olive leaf, marshmallow and lavender.

I love how these products use essential oils to boost their effectiveness. I was already using thyme and tea tree on my skin before I started using these products, and now they are incorporated into the regime.

How does my skin feel? On the surface, it feels much smoother. The mask has really helped resurface and the balancer and moisturizer are very effective.

Unfortunately, cystic acne does continue to come up from underneath the skin. I am confident, however, that it is not the result of toxins on the surface of the skin because Miessence has no toxic ingredients in their products and I am fully confident that I am putting only pure, natural things onto my skin using this system. I can’t think of any other brand about which I can say that. I’d highly recommend ordering Ely Organic’s Miessence Purifying Essentials starter pack of skin care!

Paperless Kitchen: go paperless for less

Even though I try to participate in Buy Nothing Day as much as possible after Thanksgiving, I do realize that everyone else is in the middle of gift buying. If you are aiming for a more conscientious holiday, like I am, would you be interested in supporting a small business targeted exclusively at reducing waste? And since you may have just participated in a lot of cooking and eating, and will probably do it again at some point in December, how about starting with the kitchen?

I have been working slowly toward a paperless kitchen over the years with my reusable kitchen towels and commitment to using real plates and utensils even when we have guests. So I am super excited to have signed up for the affiliate program over at Paperless Kitchen (affiliate link), an online store that provides all that you need to go paperless! My favorite is their Skoy cloths. When dry, the cloths are stiff like paper, but when wet they become flexible and extremely absorbent, like a super thin sponge or an extra plush paper towel. Each Skoy cloth is as absorbent as 15 paper towels! You can rinse and use again and again, and when dirty just throw them in the laundry. I put them in with all my other cloths and kitchen towels. They air dry extremely quickly (less than an hour), but I have even dried them in the dryer by mistake, and they come out completely unharmed.

Skoy cloths from Paperless Kitchen
Skoy cloths from Paperless Kitchen

Anyway, the big news is the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale at Paperless Kitchen!

The following items are 50% off from 10pm Thanksgiving evening (last night) through Monday, December 2 using the code “paperless50”.

Here is the list:

BONUS: If you order in November (before end of day Saturday), you will receive a 4 pack of Skoy cloths free with your order!

And did I mention FREE SHIPPING?

So if you order today (November 29) or tomorrow (November 30) and purchase only a 4 pack of Skoy reusable paper towel replacements, you’ll pay approximately $4.49 and also receive an additional 4-pack free! That’s 8 reusable Skoy cloths for $4.49. I am totally doing this. They make great stocking stuffers too. Pair Skoy cloths with a spray bottle of my homemade Lysol alternative cleaner and you’ve got an inexpensive and eco-friendly gift.

Happy paperless holiday!

Eyelash extensions: less toxic choice?

NOTE: I had a coupon for free eyelash extensions from Amazing Lash Dallas, which I used for this first application. They did not ask me to write about them or give me any compensation to do so.

If there’s one place that I tend to deviate from my eco-friendly and low-toxin lifestyle, it is beauty products. It’s a horrible vice, but I have to say that some of the “green” choices out there just don’t deliver the same quality as conventional brands. So far, I have done pretty well in replacing all my makeup with lower toxin and botanical choices. I have replaced almost all my makeup, but I really struggle with finding a natural mascara that a) doesn’t smell weird (looking at you, Aveda), 2) doesn’t flake into my contacts, and 3) actually makes my pale blonde lashes show up (most of the options so far don’t provide much length or thickness AT ALL).

Last week, a friend of mine invited me to the grand opening of Amazing Lash Dallas, where I got to talk to the owner and franchise owner about eyelash extensions. My main question was: are eyelash extensions a less toxic option for eye enhancement? Because apparently, when you have quality lash extensions you don’t actually need to wear any other eye makeup. What if, instead of trying to find natural eyeliner, mascara, highlighter and eyeshadows that actually work, I was able to stop smearing all that stuff on my eye and just glue extensions to my natural eyelashes?

I got my lash extensions on Tuesday. It took about 2 hours, total. It takes that long because they don’t glue the lashes to your eyelid, they glue the lashes to your existing lashes. This post from Real Posh Mom on 7 Tips You Need To Know Before Getting Lash Extensions was super helpful to read before I went.

Lash Extensions - how eco-friendly are they?

Lash Extensions - how eco-friendly are they?

And for the comparison shot…

Lash Extensions Before & After

It’s now Thursday and I’ve had the extensions for 2 days. So far, here is my take on the green and not-so-green aspects of lash extensions.

Pros:

  • Eyes really don’t need any other makeup, in my opinion. I got the “Cute” style, which is a little more dramatic than the “Natural” and I haven’t worn makeup on my eyes in 2 days. See the pictures above for what they look like with no makeup.
  • No makeup on your eyes = no worry about crying and getting makeup everywhere!
  • You can get synthetic lashes or real mink. Synthetic would be the vegan, animal-friendly option.
  • The adhesive is applied to your lash, not to your skin, so technically there is no skin-to-skin contact with the chemicals in the adhesive.

Cons:

  • While the adhesive isn’t applied directly to your skin, there are fumes during application. You can ask them to turn on a fan, but the fact is, you’ll be breathing fumes for 2 hours at a time. It wasn’t noticeable at first but it got to be a little moreso toward the end. You might try bringing your own mask like the one the technician wears.
  • Even though there is no skin-to-skin contact with the adhesive, there can be a little bit of ongoing irritation if you wear contacts. I think this might be due to some of the chemicals being near the eye and the fact that my contacts are breathable. It isn’t really that bothersome to me, and not much of a “con”, in my mind.
  • Cost. You’ll have to see if extensions are something that fits into your budget. Factor in that the cost of most lower toxin eye makeup is higher than the conventional options — don’t compare extensions to the super low cost of cheap, toxic eye makeup.

I hope this little rundown might help you decide if lash extensions are a green option for you. I love mine but I’m not sure I can keep up the expense long term.

What about you? Have you had lash extensions? If so, what did you think — low toxin option or no? 

Seeking a healthy lunch: frozen meals ARE an option!

I am a member of the Collective Bias ® Social Fabric ® Community. This shop has been compensated as a part of the social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions are 100% my own. #cbias #SocialFabric

I’ve been talking a lot about eating lately. I really struggle when it comes to making good food choices at lunch. Who else seems to get so busy in the middle of the day that they forget to eat and end up shoving anything in sight into their mouths by 2pm? I do this all the time! Realistically, the middle of the day is right when my metabolism has started to ramp up as my muscles recover from my early morning workouts. Since I eat breakfast(s) at 5am and 7am, by noon it’s often been 5 hours since I’ve had anything to eat. During this last bout of keeping a food log, I got even worse about eating lunch because I couldn’t think of anything healthy to eat that would be fast enough for the middle of the day. What I need is lean protein, a small amount of whole grain, and some veggies. Then I discovered a solution I never thought I’d suggest for a healthy lunch: frozen meals!

In the past, when I thought of frozen meals I’d (rightfully) imagined processed ingredients using a lot of artificial colors, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), and a high sodium content. All things that I avoid in food. But this year at BlogHer in Chicago, I met Lean Cuisine and tasted their new line of meals called “Honestly Good”.

Awesome news — Lean Cuisine has created an array of healthy meals in their Honestly Good line with NONE of the nasty additives we want to avoid. No trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives. And the Lemongrass Salmon meal is wild-caught (ethically sourced)!

I tried my first meal this weekend right after I taught my 2 Megaformer Pilates classes in the morning. I was running home to change out of workout clothes and into a swimsuit so I could meet my family who were already at the pool for the last swim of the season. If I could pick up a Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meal, I could use that time at home to also have a complete lunch! I stopped by my local Walmart and found the meals in the freezer section next to the Vegetarian section.

I grabbed a Lemongrass Salmon meal and a Plum Ginger Grain-Crusted Fish meal. Look: lean protein, veggies, and brown rice! You can see pictures of my shopping trip and some organic produce available at Walmart in my Google+ photo album. One meal was for today and the other I ate the next day.  NOTE:  With the fish meals, make sure that you always thaw the sauce packets in water before heating.

If you are concerned about heating the plastic containers in which the meals come, you’ll notice that I actually put the salmon meal onto a “real” plate before heating and it worked just great!

Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Lemongrass Salmon. YUM! #shop #EatHonestly
Lemongrass Salmon, right out of the box: looks pretty awesome!

If you are heating on a plate, remember to cover the plate during the heating (per the instructions on the box) and wear oven mitts when removing the plate from the microwave, as the plate will get very hot.

I ate these meals on two separate days, but I just had to show you both of them when they were completed! I paired the Plum Ginger fish with a nice kale and lemon smoothie (stainless steel straw, ftw!).

Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Lemongrass Salmon meal. YUM! #shop #SocialFabric
Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Lemongrass Salmon meal
Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Ginger Plum Grain-Encrusted Fish meal! YUM! #shop #EatHonestly
Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Plum Ginger Grain-Encrusted Fish meal

I have to say that the taste of both meals was GREAT. I even got distracted while eating the salmon and left it out for a few minutes. When I came back, it was still just as delicious even though it was no longer piping hot. All this with no unnecessary ingredients. Just food! Thank you, Lean Cuisine, for leading the way in convenient clean eating!

New healthy lunch option - Lean Cuisine Honestly Good line has removed all the preservatives, artificial colors, trans fats, HFCS & high sodium from their meals! Great option for a fast lunch! #shop #EatHonestly

Make sure to follow Lean Cuisine on Facebook to learn about the Honestly Good line and their other healthy lunch frozen meal options. If Twitter is more your thing, you can find out what other bloggers think of the Honestly Good meals by following the hashtag #EatHonestly.

Have you tried the Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meals?

If not, here’s a coupon for you: Save $1.00 on an Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meal.
Let me know what you think of the other meals!