#ShiftHappens: Going to ShiftCon 2014 this week!

ShiftCon Media Conference 2014 #ShiftHappens

I am beyond excited to be traveling to LA at the end of this week to finally meet so many of my green/holistic/real food blogger friends in real life at the first annual ShiftCon Media conference!! Here’s a quick summary of what the conference is about:

ShiftCon was born out of the idea that together we can create a profound impact on the world around us. We can literally shift how we eat, raise our families and our impact on the environment. That shift has begun, and now it’s time to come together and leverage our collective influence to accelerate that shift. ShiftCon was created to give wellness and eco-friendly bloggers a place to network, share ideas, learn from experts, empower one another and organize their efforts into activism. This is a one-of-a-kind conference bringing together some amazing people with amazing talents and passions. Shift happens, be part of it.

It’s like Leah read my mind when she organized this conference! The agenda pretty much encompasses everything involved in my blogging journey to live consciously. THIS is why I blog, because we have to shift the paradigm. And better yet, at the conference the food will all be organic, GMO-free, and as conscientious as possible. I’ve been speaking to several other attendees and we are pretty sure we can continue to eat grain-free, dairy-free and sugar-free even while at the conference! You know that I have loved my annual giant blogging conference, but there is NO WAY I could have maintained that kind of food purity at that event since I am currently on my liver detox.

At other blogging conferences, I’ve spent half my time in the Expo hall talking to vendors about why they weren’t more environmentally responsible, why they used toxic chemicals, and whether their products contained GMO’s. It will be totally amazing to go to an Expo hall and not be on the defensive!

You can follow me on my journey! I will be live-tweeting from as many of the sessions as I can (follow me on Twitter) and documenting all my amazing blogger friends meetups on Instagram. During the month of October, my Instagram yoga challenge will be #LetsGetFlexy, so be sure to look for yoga poses at the conference — maybe I’ll even incorporate some yogi friends (acro, anyone?)!

There will be some “controversial” speakers like the internet-viral blogger Vani, aka Food Babe. You have to follow me to hear what she says to a group of similarly-minded bloggers!

Feel free to tweet me, leave comments on my Facebook Page, or comment on my Instagram photos with things you’d like me to find out or ask the collective green/holistic/real food bloggers that I know and those that I meet!

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? 

Dallas Yoga with babysitting: Samatone Yoga, Addison

DISCLAIMER: I took a free yoga class at Samatone Yoga because they saw my post 3 Yoga Poses Every Mom Needs on Dallas Moms Blog. They did not request this post and I did not receive any compensation. I just love to share yoga with everyone!

Yoga

When I talk to other moms with young children about yoga, one of the main comments I get from SAHM’s is that they can’t do yoga because they always have their kids with them. Earlier this year, I found We Yogis studio in Dallas that offers babysitting services and now I have found a new studio even closer to me that offers moms in north Dallas yoga with babysitting: Samatone Yoga.

Samatone Yoga is unique in that the studio incorporates toning into the practice. Each of the studio rooms is equipped with Organic Ultrasound internal tonal vibration. You can’t hear the tones, but they are there. The style of yoga taught at Samatone incorporates breath, alignment, power vinyasa flow & warmth (room) with internal toning – a softhummmmm during YIN stretches. Lots of tones!

I took a class from Suze, the founder of Samatone. Her classes are special in that they are very intense and cleansing. This class just happened to be 2 hours long! I didn’t actually know that, going in, but it just flew right by. I had no idea that much time had passed. I was definitely drenched in sweat, which is unusual for me in a non-Bikram yoga class. What’s more, I was also sore a few days later, which is something that rarely ever happens to me with yoga anymore. Finally, I took a nap later that day and slept SO solidly. Again that night, I had some super great sleep. Was this a result of the Organic Ultrasound and toning part of the practice? I don’t know, but it was very enjoyable.

My kids played happily in the small kids’ room throughout the entire class. They didn’t even seem super interested in leaving! There were a few other kids in there with them, and they got to watch some Peter Pan, so they were all set. I did put my potty training little girl in Pull Ups, because with only one babysitter you’ll be paged out of your class to take your child to the bathroom if they can’t make the trip on their own. With the usual 1-hour -plus class, this shouldn’t be an issue. I know that my 3 year old can hold his pee that long for sure!

Overall, I’m excited to share this studio with you and I hope you get a chance to try it out. Make sure you sign up for childcare by calling ahead or online, out of respect for the childcare workers. Hope to see you there!

All the Drama: on the Internets and IRL Episode #4

All The Drama On The Internets

I have not posted this week yet because there has been so much drama and sadness, and then a little anger thrown into the mix, both on the internets and in real life. As you know, I am typically a very peaceful person so it has all been inside my head. I’m going to give you a bulleted list of things that are currently bringing me down so that I can clear my head and focus on hope.

Petty Nutrition Mis-information

#KFCKidsMeals. I am going to start with the most petty drama on the Internets and I am going to make this one quick. KFC paid for a bunch of bloggers to come out and try their new kids meals and tweet about it. They decreased the overall calorie count of the kids meals to 210, and that was a main talking point. Nevermind that the meals are still nutritionally vacant, fried, and full of PHO’s, artificial colors, and nothing resembling a real chicken. Some people got mad that bloggers would even pretend these meals were good for people. Other people defended the bloggers. Arguments ensued.
Hope: Let’s all just agree that if you are convinced by the hashtag #KFCKidsMeals that fried meat-composite is a good nutritional choice for your kids, you are gathering your information from the wrong sources, my friend.

Blows to Feminism

Steubenville. Specifically, the reaction of the city and the media to the verdict. Instead of confirming that justice had been served in the conviction of two young football players who raped a 16 year old girl and posted photos of the rape on social media, or at the very least remaining neutral, I was horrified and depressed that the reaction seemed to be sympathy for the men. It was all, “Oh, they were such good football players and now their careers are ruined! What a shame!”. There was also a huge backlash on Twitter blaming the victim of the rape. What a shame?!! Shame on HER?! Are you kidding me? What a shame that our country has so little value for that 16 year old girl and such an apparently low value for women’s sexuality in general. What a shame that women are still seen to be at fault for sexual attacks. Shame on us for raising boys that still believe that women are objects to be used and tossed away. They had an awful lot of confidence to post those pictures and it not even occur to them that anyone would have a problem with it.
Hope: I was encouraged by this post from A Holy Experience about 25 Things Our Sons Need To Know About Manhood. Oh look, I have a son that I will be raising to fight against this kind of treatment of women.

Pycon. As a woman who worked in IT and programming throughout my corporate career, I was often the only woman in my department. I went to conferences in my early 20’s. I feel that, as a woman, I have the right to raise a complaint when I am sexually harassed (and I am…we all are, constantly). But the thing that depresses me is that Adria was fired from HER job for raising a complaint. Not just the man who made the remark, but the woman who was insulted was fired. What is this, 1960? The last time I worked in corporate America I had to sit through 2 days of sexual harassment training videos and exercises. Everyone did. Those videos told us that it was OK to report sexual harassment. I think we all know that we can be fired for what we blog, but Adria’s company knew she blogged at But You’re A Girl before they hired her. I feel like this case just exemplifies how women are really treated in the workplace. We want to think we are equals, but then something like this happens and I have to think that maybe we’re just wishfully thinking.
Hope: Sometimes when I get discouraged about women in the workplace, I read tweets from my friend Blessing @ThinkFeminist on Twitter. She is a huge encouragement! And there’s also the #workingmomchat at 7pm CST on Twitter.

My own perception of safety

In the last few weeks there have been 3 aggravated sexual assaults on women in our neighborhood. Not the kind that comes from domestic violence, but unexpected attacks from a single rapist (same perpetrator of all three, confirmed with DNA evidence) who had apparently been closely watching the women’s patterns and following them to find them alone. Two of these women also go to my church. One I knew personally. I am not full of fear because I still have a trust in God that whatever He allows for me is His plan. But I am discouraged because this seems to bear out the kind of feeling I got from the news stories regarding women. I know that in the Congo and in Uganda, rape is the #1 tool of violence. Are we heading in that direction here, even in Dallas?
Hope: Our pastor wrote a blog post addressing fear. Some of my friends organized a prayer walk in the neighborhood where all three rapes occurred.

Walmart is moving across the street

I know, it is petty of me to even write about Walmart in the context of rape and discrimination. Don’t worry, friends on Facebook have pointed out that they don’t agree with my outrage. But let me ‘splain. To me, this is a moral issue. Sure, I am concerned about our property values. Yes, I am concerned about the crime rate in our neighborhood. I am annoyed that Walmart didn’t have to ask anyone before deciding to build a 90,000 square foot store less than a 1,000 feet from my door. The traffic is going to be killer. But in the larger picture, to me Walmart is symbolic of things that corporate America is doing wrong which I refuse to support with my consumer dollars. I wish that no one supported Walmart for this reason. The culture of “cheap” that Walmart has created into a religion exploits workers in their U.S. stores and in the manufacturing plants that it supports overseas (since at least 60% of Walmart’s products are imported from China and other overseas locations). Child labor, injustice, discrimination, profitting from the poverty of the underprivileged and less educated… I could rant on and on about this, but instead I have created a Pinterest board on My Problems With Walmart. Check it out. Let me know if you have additional articles to Pin.
Bottom line, this is probably about my own weakness. I am afraid that if they build that giant store within walking distance of my house, I am going to be tired and hungry one day and I am going to cave in and go to Walmart. Then I will feel guilty for days for supporting Walmart. I don’t want that temptation.
Hope: If you do live near me, please sign our petition. We need the 2,000 signatures by April 4. Honestly, it might do nothing at all, but it’s our only shot.

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Thanks for letting me get all this off my chest! Supportive and encouraging comments welcome. Flaming comments, probably going to be deleted.