Spit That Out!

The Overly Informed Parent's Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt by Paige Wolf

Blogging about green guilt, eco-anxiety, and finding practical, reasonable ways to keep our families safe and healthy.
September 15th, 2014

I Ran the Philly10K – Lived To Tell and Didn’t Smell (A Piperwai Review)

I wanted to write a blog post about my amazing new client Piperwai Natural Deodorant. I also wanted to write a post about my experience with the Philly10K. Then I realized it only made sense to write these two together.

Let’s start with a flashback: Three years ago I posted about my foray into running with great excitement about running for a grand total of three minutes.   After much training, Crossfit, and a pregnancy thrown in, I shocked and astounded myself with the ability to run 6.2 miles.

After completing my first 5K more than two years ago I really had no desire to up the distance. I didn’t love running. I liked obstacle courses, CrossFit competitions, and silly scavenger hunt races. But long distance running was not my cup of tea.

Then my husband heard about the Philly 10K  and e-mailed me, “Paige, if you are ever going to do a 10K, do this one.”

Hmmm. It is right around my neighborhood. I’d have three months to train. Eh, what the hell, let’s sign up!

And training went surprisingly well. I started by just getting myself back up to a 5K and started increasing farther and farther. Discovering the Schuylkill River Trail just over a mile from my house was extremely helpful, allowing me to run by the breezy river, passing hundreds of other people with the same goal.

I managed the 6.2 mile run three times in advance of the race. Each time left me a little tired, but I was able to go about the rest of my day with minimal trouble. I had zero concerns about race day. And then:

85 degrees with 88 percent humidity. And this was not the breezy river loop – this was hot sun beating down on cement. This was the smell of foul garbage roasting on the oven that is Spring Garden street. This was hell. 

And I am used to working out in some gnarly conditions. I go to CrossFit in an un-air-conditioned garage in the midst of heat advisories (and then do a workout called “Heat Advisory” – you can only imagine). I am no stranger to sweat.

The Philly 10K team planned well, but clearly did not expect the need for so much water. In fact, with only two water stops I know I was not the only runner who felt like I was on the verge of a heat stroke. When I felt like I was starting to get chills running past Market Street, I stopped at a newspaper kiosk and begged a stranger to buy me a bottle of water. Then I drank it too fast and got a cramp. By the last quarter mile I was ready to vomit. And when I crossed the finish line, I proceeded to sweat for a solid 30 minutes, just sitting on a bench.

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Despite the conditions, I was fairly happy with my time. While my Map My Run app had me running a 9:13 mile and mapped a total of 6.5 miles, in reality I timed 59:33 on the actual chip (9:36 min mile). This placed me right around the top 25% in my division! Hooray!

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However, this race took a massive toll on me. Four days later I am still sore and reeling from a virus that has me bedridden. I pushed my body too far in treacherous weather conditions. Stupid? Probably. But I have no regrets and plan to sign up for the Broad Street Run in May.

Now, let’s back up to those 30 minutes where I sat and sweated out the entire water content of my body. Immediately after my friend Elana sniffed under her arm and said, “Hey! I used that Piperwai Deodorant you gave me and I don’t smell at all!” I smelled myself, “Wow! Neither do I!”

So that is pretty much all you need to know about Piperwai Natural Deodorant apart from the fact that it is handmade in Philly by two cool young girls who have been best friends since they sold lemonade together in the fourth grade (kinda like me and Elana!) This unisex charcoal creme is so effective, you’ll never want to use anything else on your underarms again – I promise!

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September 9th, 2014

Greening a Five Year Old’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Here we go again with the birthday party planning – and FIVE is a big one! My son wants to invite everyone he ever met, load them up with goodies, and have a grand piñata finale. So how do we keep a party for 30+ kids fairly green and under a $500 budget? Fortunately, I have been thinking about this for a while.

September is a great time for an outdoor party and we have plenty of lovely public parks and playgrounds. But I, for one, am not taking a chance on a rainy day. So we found a small local playground with a no-frills recreation center that we can rent for $100. Done.

On to the theme: Our family is not averse to well-timed doses of television or celebrating fictional characters. This year we are going with Special Agent Oso, a Disney Junior program that breaks down everyday tasks into preschooler-sized “missions.” We’re going to take the special agent theme a step further with scavenger hunt missions around the playground and even find a way to green that piñata! Ready for your “three special steps?” Because we actually have like 30…

Scavenger Hunt Treasure

We gathered rocks and random slabs of granite from around the neighborhood, painted them, and doused them in glitter.

Total Cost? $5 for glitter. Total Environmental Cost? Rocks are as green as it gets. Conventional paint and glitter don’t help the planet, but I consider them an acceptable evil when it’s all about upcycling!

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Brilliant!

Tablecloths and Serveware

Paper and plastic tablecloths are a total waste. I was able to find plain white fabric tablecloths for $6 a piece that I will be able to use over again for events! And if you are better with a scissors than I, you can even buy a bolt of tablecloth fabric and cut it down yourself! Four tablecloths = $24 (and will never need to be purchased again). I will tally this total cost as $6 – price per use – as I am sure I will use these at least four more times

Compostable and biodegradable plates, cups, and cutlery are an imperfect science. Chances are they will not be disposed of properly and will not simply dissolve into the earth. BUT, using them avoids petrochemical plastics and uses more eco-friendly resources for manufacturing. We bought this all-inclusive-plate-and-cutlery-set for 50 guests for under $40.

Total Cost? $46 Total Environmental Cost? The amount of time it takes bio-based materials to degrade in Philadelphia landfill conditions + possible methane off-gassing.

Party Favors

I wanted to keep the party favors simple and functional and thought the kids would have a good time using magnifying glasses for the scavenger hunt. I refused to buy any worthless trinkets from Oriental Trading Company and scoured the internet for something affordable and actually useful. These kids magnifying glasses got decent reviews and I was able to buy 30 for a total of $42. I only wish they didn’t come individually wrapped in plastic baggies. Add some stickers and we have unique party gifts for all!

Total Cost? $42 Total Environmental Cost? Lots of plastic. But at least the products are useful and should make it home in one piece.

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Fine five-year-old handiwork.

Pinata

You can buy a conventional party pinata filled with absolute garbage for about $30. I found a Pinterest tutorial describing how to make your own piñata using a large balloon and paper mache. I bought a pack of three super big and sturdy latex balloons (the two extra are just for at-home fun!) Newspaper and water are free and a few tablespoons of flour costs pretty much nothing.

For the filling – here is where I got to have some fun! I spent a bit of money buying organic gummy treats and lollipops in bulk. But the rest of the stuff I threw into the pinata included things I had around the house like random samples of green baby shampoos and bodywashes and even a few little trinkets like stamps and stickers from previously received goody bags!

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There may have been a few gummy vitamins in this picture but they did not make it into the piñata because my husband reminded me that would be highly inappropriate.

And my most brilliant innovation for this thing was sticking a wire hanger through it for hanging! I’ll be honest, I am more proud of this thing than most of my life accomplishments. It’s going to be devastating to see it axed.

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You know you are impressed!

Total Cost? $35 spent mostly on organic candy. Total Environmental Cost? A giant latex balloon is not very sustainable. However, I have recycled a wide variety of items, including the newspaper, and introduced kids and parents to some healthier treats!

Food

Here is where I say screw it and purchase plain ol’ conventional pizza. Seriously there are more than 30 kids showing up at this thing! (13 pies for $140). I make up for the junky pizza with cases of Honest Kids organic fruit drinks (on sale for $10.69 for 32 at Fresh Direct). But to my dismay I am pretty much forced to purchase bottled water as there is no realistic potable source in this rec center ($15 for two cases).

Total Cost? $166. Total Environmental Cost? Pretty high.

Cake

Our friend’s sister is a very talented “hobby baker” and always does a great job with our themed cakes. We don’t put any parameters on her as far as ingredients or even artificial icings – it would have been unreasonable to have asked her to make a Special Agent Oso cake for 60 people out of blueberries and organic buttercream. But we feel like homemade is still better than store bought and she gives us an amazing deal. (She asked for $50, we gave her $75).

The icing may be artificial but the contents are all real. Yum.

The icing may be artificial but the contents are all real. 

Total Cost? $75 Total Environmental Cost? Plus points for homemade, minus points for sugar content.

+ Balloons + Helium Tank

TOTAL: $495

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These kids LOVED the rocks and spyglasses.

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I will not shed a tear.

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Much chaos and a few tears ensued over the spoils of the piñata – until they realized they were fighting over shampoo.

Overall a success!

Overall a success!

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August 27th, 2014

The Real Dangers of Crossfit: My Dumbest, Silliest Crossfit Injuries

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There has been an insane amount of media buzz lately about the “dangers of CrossFit.” Everyone and your grandmother is suddenly concerned that you are taking part in this perilous new activity where you will certainly break every bone and get rhabdo.

I am far from a fitness expert but I think have enough personal experience –  CrossFitting for three years including a pregnancy – to have a bit of insight on this issue. CrossFit is dangerous and people do get injured. But debatably less so than skiing, football, driving in rush hour traffic, or being like the 80% of Americans who do not get recommended exercise at all. 

I think all the negative attention CrossFit draws stems from the fact that 1. Exponential growth in gyms and memberships = more potential for lousy trainers and sloppy training. 2. Exponential growth in gyms and memberships = increased physical activity by people of varying athletic abilities = more physical injuries. The same math could be applied to rising numbers of yoga injuries, running injuries, or ankles sprained while country line dancing. But where the intensity goes up the stakes inevitably get higher.

I can only speak for myself and my spouse, whose CrossFit gym experience has led to lowered cholesterol, lowered blood sugar, increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, increased confidence, energy, endurance, flexibility, and capability that applies itself well outside the “box.” There but for the grace of God have I avoided any serious injury despite my own occasional stupidity and failure to follow good form. But I know that all great rewards include some level of risk – and most likely, any serious injury would likely be my own fault.

Have I gotten hurt? Sure. But let’s break down a few of my “Top 9 Crossfit Injuries: Because There Simply Was Not a 10th  – yet”

1. Banging the kettlebell into my chin while being overzealous with a sumo deadlift high pull.

2. Pinching my own stomach fat between the kettlebell and rack upon return.

3. Stepping on a nail on the sidewalk on my way back into the gym after a run.

4. Rope burn on my thighs due to poor dismount and poor attire.

5. Whipping my ankles during double unders (this is a given for anyone on the learning curve).

6. Randomly walking into a rower/box/barbell/human (no real excuse for this one. Also not Crossfit exclusive).

7. Dropping a plate on my ankles trying to disembark from a prison squat.

8. Slightly bruising my wrists performing kellebell cleans.

9. And – the only one worthy of actual physical concern – tweaking my lower back while attempting a one-rep-max deadlift six weeks post-partum. By myself. For no reason. I mean, honestly, I pretty much deserved that one.

Not rhabdo. Just tired. (14.5 for those in the know).

Not rhabdo. Just tired. (14.5 for those in the know).

All of that said, if CrossFit is not your cup of tea, don’t do it. Find whatever motivates you to stay fit – yoga, pilates, biking, Zumba, running with your dog – really, whatever. Just don’t sit on the couch chastising CrossFit. It’s tiring. Not as tiring as actually doing CrossFit, but nonetheless, exhausting.

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August 18th, 2014

How NOT to Hike Glen Onoko Falls

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I have a really bad habit of screwing up what are supposed to be great “life adventure experiences.”

I spent Woodstock ’99 in a makeshift medical tent with a condition somewhere between dehydration and hypothermia. I spent a kayaking trip down the Puerto Rican Bio Bay in complete panic mode getting eaten alive by mosquitos in the pitch black darkness. And the last time my husband and I went hiking – 10 years ago at the Kaulalau Trail in Kawaii – we were thoroughly unprepared. Out-of-shape and wearing wet pumas, we only made it about a mile in.

But now that we are in “the best shape of our lives,” we figured hiking would be a breeze. And rather than start with the vast and manageable trails around the corner in Fairmount Park, we thought we’d head to Glen Onoko Falls in Jim Thorpe, Pa., a particularly treacherous trail known for its breathtaking views and high death count.

For a well-traveled tourist destination, there is surprisingly little information on the trail route online, and a complete dearth of signs or explanation of direction around the trails. There is only this:

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We entered into a wide, mountainous cavern and asked for some direction from experienced hikers who simply pointed up. We saw loads of people literally running down the rocks with children so we figured it couldn’t be as dangerous as we were told. And as we ascended the rocks, assuming we were heading in the direction due to some orange “blazes” spray-painted on the occasional tree, we felt confident and strong.

Thinking I am pretty bad ass

Thinking I am pretty bad ass

It was just like climbing a really, really lot of stairs. We barely had to stop for a sip of water when we came across a lost-looking couple about a mile up the trail.

Since we fancied ourselves professional hikers at this point, we led them up to what we believed would be “the falls,” a breathtaking view with people basking in the waters at the top of this glorious mountain. And the view at the top was lovely – but where were the falls?

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“What do you mean?” asked our new friends, “There were like 4 huge waterfalls on the way up?”

“Um. We didn’t see anything.”

“Then how did you get up here?”

So, apparently we hiked up the SWITCHBACK, basically a lesser-grade decline trail designed to prevent people from killing themselves on the way down the falls. Lame. And now we were just going to have to hike back down that thing, right?

“Oh no,” said our friends. “We have a map from a guide book that shows this as a 10 mile hike. We need to continue around a massive trail that will lead us back to the bottom.”

I had heard the trail was anywhere from about 2-4 miles round trip. 10 miles was news to me. But no matter – we were FIT! Let’s go. And so we continued to follow this couple into the woods.

A word about this couple and their map: This map was photocopied from what may have been a guide book from 1973. It was really nothing more than a series of dots and lines. This couple also did not own smartphones. They were 25-years-old, newly into hiking, and did not own a GPS device between the two of them.

Of course, I had my phone, and continued to check my GPS and show it to the couple who assured me that we were right on track. This is despite the fact that every now and again we would come across a fork in the road with no discernible explanation on either the map or the trail.

This is a fork in the road. On the tree in the center, there is the letter "T," which is completely meaningless. We chose left.

This is a fork in the road. On the tree in the center, there is the letter “T,” which is completely meaningless. We chose left.

We continued on for a solid hour over every variation of rock trail. Finally I took another look at my GPS and realized we were completely outside the state park area. We were in the middle of nowhere – gamelands, more accurately, where hunters come to shoot deer. It felt like the beginning of every horror movie I have ever seen so I cursed the couple and their “Blair Witch” map and we headed back in the other direction. An hour back in the other direction. Just to get back to the top of the freaking mountain.

By the time we got back down the mountain we had been hiking for five hours. And we still had NOT SEEN A WATERFALL.

Despite our exhaustion we were determined to make the shortest trip possible up the correct route to at least see some semblance of a waterfall. This is where we realized where we made our mistake, completely missing a clear set of stone stairs leading to a trail to the left versus a log laid across the trail to the right. And maybe five minutes up the correct route lays the first – and probably least impressive – of four waterfalls.

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The least impressive photo of the falls you will ever see.

I’m not going to lie to you – two days later and I am still really pissed. I have to wonder if we are the only people who have ever made this mistake – and I feel confident that we probably are. I spend six months researching every pair of socks I purchase but put absolutely no study into this trail. But, as ever hiker I met – and even the locals – explained, this place is inexplicably devoid of signage or direction. It just may have helped to be aware of the basic fact that we were meant to HIKE UP WATERFALLS.

I can not imagine that we will have the planning, wherewithal, or childcare to visit Glen Onoko Falls again any time soon. I am at least grateful for the exercise, time away with my husband, and the fact that I did not turn cannibal on the misdirected couple.

I wish all future hikers better luck – but I think common sense might be all that is needed. Don’t forget your hiking boots – we wore sneakers.

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August 12th, 2014

Happy Family Brand’s Happiness Happens Campaign

It seems fitting that on my 35th birthday I should write about National Happiness Happens Day – which was actually Friday but is being celebrated all month long.

I’ve learned over the years that true happiness is more than simple contentment and less than unadulterated bliss. It’s not about those moments of euphoric joy but more about being able to find true pleasure in your daily life. This is how I know I am happy.

Like most working parents, my day is broken up into pretty routine chunks. And I think the key to happiness is being able to look forward to each of those portions of time. Of course, there are daily tasks no one really loves, like taking out the garbage or a rush hour commute. But I think the key is finding the joy in each segment of the day.

I generally wake up pretty excited to start the day. I look forward to my first cup of coffee and getting the kids out the door to school so I can hit the gym. And then, crazy as it may sound, I actually enjoy the gym. That’s why it’s so important to find a fitness routine that you actually like.

I also enjoy my work, even though it can be thankless, exhausting, and riddled with insecurity as a sole business owner. I look forward to opening my emails every morning and seeing what lies ahead for the day. And I know how lucky I am to be doing work that I feel passionately about.

And, of course, I look forward to spending time with my children – and equally forward to putting them to bed so I can veg out with an hour of bad television and homemade Vitamix ice cream.

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I try to remember that “comparison is the thief of joy” and not dissect everything that is “wrong” with my house, my body, my family. And that is easier said than done. But what makes me secure in my happiness is knowing that I look forward to each part of every day. And when those days include miserable tasks like taking the kids to the doctor I try to find a way to add a brightside – like ice cream or even a really good iced coffee.

I don’t think any of this is sage advice and I don’t expect to earn any accolades as a “happiness guru.” But this is how I have found overall happiness at 35, complete with bad days and even really bad weeks. I’ve stopped looking for euphoric joy or settling for status quo contentment. Happiness, for me, is about always looking forward to the next thing, even if that means spending more than I should at Starbucks.

You can celebrate #HappinessHappens all month long by following @HappyFamily. It’s sure to make you smile!

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Happy Family Brands

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July 29th, 2014

Geocaching with Children: Fun Scavenger Hunts for the Whole Family

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An overgrown kid at heart, I love a good scavenger hunt. It’s why my husband and I like to sign up for local scavenger hunt races and turn watching Jeopardy into a competitive sport.

For most actual children, loving scavenger hunts is as innate as loving artificial frosting – accept this is a love that can be very healthily encouraged!

I had heard about geocaching off an on over the years but didn’t know very much about it. But recently I was browsing an issue of Parents Magazine where it was briefly mentioned as a fun way to spend time with children outdoors. I downloaded the app on my iPhone and was hooked before we even started.

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices – i.e. smartphones. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Geocaches can be found all over the world. It is common for geocachers to hide caches in locations that are important to them, reflecting a special interest or skill of the cache owner. They may be at your local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater or on the side of a city street.

There’s so much I love about this activity. First, it gets you outside with your children for an activity that can literally keep you busy for hours. Second, if you are doing the geocaching on foot, it will get you and your family plenty of exercise! Third, it is an amazing way to explore a new city or rediscover your own. Our first geocache was located in a beautiful little garden that we never knew existed even though it was just four blocks from our home!

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Some are in larger containers, but you really do need an eagle eye and a good mind for tricky clues. All the caches contain a scroll where you can sign your name and see the handles of finders from all over the world! If you are lucky you find a cache with “treasure,” mostly stickers, foreign coins, and trinkets which you can exchange for something of “equal or greater value.”

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At one site, Sam and I spent at least 30 minutes searching for the cache with no luck. I won’t lie, it can be frustrating. But after a few you start to adopt the sixth sense that will lead you to your prize. And even if you don’t find the cache every time, you will discover new and interesting places, get a decent workout, and create fun memories with your kids!

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July 22nd, 2014

Top Green Beauty Products 2014 Update: My Favorite Natural Beauty Products

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My favorite natural beauty products is becoming an annual round-up, as I find better, cleaner, more amazing favorites!

My original post was in 2011 and was followed up in 2013.

After spending another year trying out some of the best organic luxury beauty products on the market, I have a few new favorites to share and a few that have stood the test of time. Others have been removed from the list because of purity of ingredients, annoying repackaging, or simply finding something that worked better.

 

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Piperwai Natural Deodorant

I met these two girls at a Philly flea market and couldn’t believe how amazing this natural deodorant is. The scent is totally pleasant, fresh, and unisex, and activated charcoal is the special ingredient to make it last through your toughest summer workouts. I like to credit myself for turning this into a cult fave!

 

Stinky Girl Beauty Company Hair Powder + Dry Shampoo

Also made locally in Philadelphia, this product has made it possible for me to only wash my hair 2-3 times per week while doing CrossFit 4 times per week. And it comes in a salt shaker!

 

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub

I like my facial scrubs gritty, and Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub leaves your skin feeling super clean and polished. Organic Sea Kelp, Organic Lemon, and Organic Cocoa Powder gently exfoliate your skin while French Green Clay and removes impurities from your pores.

Vered Organic Botanicals Clarifying Detox Mask

Also gritty and detoxifying. Feels like it is really doing it’s job but won’t leave you red-faced.

Goddess Garden Natural Sunscreen

This is the absolute best natural sunscreen I have found. It comes in an easy to apply spray – but not a traditional aerosol spray. It’s closer to a liquid that goes on sheer unlike most natural sunscreens that leave a thick white film. And it has worked great on my super pale child.

3Girls Holistic Orange Pop Lip Gloss

I helped this brand launch their line of little girls products – but fell in love with the Orange Pop Lip Gloss as my own personal lip balm. It’s super moisturizing, delicious, and organic. And at $3 a tube it’s an absolute steal.

Nourish Organic Body Wash

Knowing it is a product that we use all over our body on a daily basis, I searched high and low for a body wash that got high marks from both EWG and the Think Dirty App. Nourish is one of the few USDA certified organic bodywashes on the market and the price won’t break your budget. Super moisturizing with shea butter and pretty packaging to boot!

 

Tried and True:
These rock star products have remained on my list and have yet to be replaceable.

Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick in Coquette – Ever since I found this perfect color it is pretty much all I wear. Sometimes I wear it with no other makeup just to wake up my face and I always get compliments. I have also found that it looks amazing on every complexion.

Kure Bazaar Nail Lacquer in Stiletto – I usually only wear polish on my toes but this brand is the best non-toxic polish I’ve ever tried. The unique formula is made from up to 85% of natural origin based on wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes and corn – and still maintains top notch glamour.

This year I made the jump to occasional self-manicures because this polish is long-lasting enough to make it not seem futile. And I was shocked to find that I love the look of grey polish, especially Kure Bazaar Cashmere.

La Bella Figura Decouverte Under Eye Repair Serum – Sleepless nights with two children is no match for this antiwrinkle serum with vital healing botanicals and omega 3 to repair the look of tired eyes, dark circles and smooth facial lines. Découverte is made from pure barbary fig seed oil, which makes this under eye treatment a real rock star of a serum! Derived from the seed of the cactus plant, Barbary fig seed oil is a richer source of vitamin E than our beloved argan oil.

Kajer Weis Mascara – The ingredients in Kjaer Weis Mascara contain nourishing properties, with 99.8% sourced from organic farming. It glides on easily, with a sleek wand that adds the perfect amount of product, delivers great definition, and adds layers to eyelashes.

W3LL PEOPLE Elitist Mineral Shadow – Pure pigments in a beautiful finish. Perfect for easy shading, highlighting, contouring and lining.

Chocolate Sun Sunless Tanning Cream – the answer to streak-free, toxin-free, sun-ray-free beautifully tanned skin! And it smells delicious.

Yarok Shampoo and Conditioner – I have tried it all for my big mess of hair, and this is my favorite.

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer - brings you back when you look like death warmed over.

Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation – so light and luminous – like silk.

 

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July 16th, 2014

Mark Your Calendars – And Call for Vendors! CRAFT PHILA: Liberty Bell Fall Craft Show Celebrates American Handmade Wares

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Philly tourists can bypass the made-in-China liberty bell magnets and other worthless tchotchkes marketed as “souvenirs!” Here’s a new craft show that highlights true sustainability – handcrafted items made in the U.S.A. and sold at the steps of Philadelphia freedom!

CRAFT PHILA: Liberty Bell is holding its first Fall show on Saturday, September 13, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 14, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Presented at the epicenter of American History, surrounded by iconic monuments and greenery, the outdoor juried art fair is staged adjacent to the Liberty Bell Pavilion and Independence Mall. The historic destination welcomes up to 15,000 tourists a weekend according to the National Park Service.

76 independent artists will offer signed goods in a broad range of prices. Expect to see handcrafted jewelry, accessories, and wearables along with decorative and functional wares in a spectrum of contemporary styles. Craft specialties include ceramics, wood, glass, metal, fiber & leather, mixed-media, upcycled & recycled, soaps and candles. Featured in the visual art category are photography, prints, and graphic art.

This is the second installation of CRAFT PHILA, which premiered in June 2014. The event was conceived as public arts tradition and an opportunity for local, regional and national artists to reach a global audience in a famous historic setting.
A few spots are still available so contact the organizers to submit your work!

CRAFT PHILA’s original show and sale was located on 6th Street between Market and Chestnut and now expands onto Chestnut Street between 6th and 7th. Events are free to attend and will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit www.craftphila.org.

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July 7th, 2014

Sustainable Summer Swaps on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta

Sustainable Swap Outs

If you didn’t catch my segment on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta – or you did and want to know where to find the products – here is the scoop on eco-friendly summer solutions for the busy mom.

CBS46 News

We all want to be kinder to the planet and make safer, greener choices for our families. Summer can be a particularly harried time for moms so we have some simple swap-outs for more sustainable solutions!

1.Sunscreen Most conventional sunscreens include chemicals classified as endocrine disrupters, meaning that with repeated exposure they can mess with your hormones. The most problematic of the sunscreen chemicals used in the U.S. is oxybenzone, found in nearly every chemical sunscreen. EWG recommends that consumers avoid this chemical because it can penetrate the skin, cause allergic skin reactions and may disrupt hormones.

Goddess Garden is my favorite natural sunscreen brand because it’s one of the few that doesn’t leave a thick white coating and the only one I’ve found that comes in a spray bottle! Much easier to get on squirmy kids as well.

2.Waste-Free Snacking Whether at the beach or simply on-the-go, all those disposable packages may seem convenient but they create so much unnecessary waste (Should show samples of disposable snacks). You can also save money by buying snacks in bulk and packing in reusable containers like these bento-style stainless steel containers from EcoLunchbox.

3.Filtered Water Bottle Avoid all those plastic water bottles and fill up at the tap with this filtered aluminum water bottle by EcoFlo. The filters remove 99.99% of contaminants found in fresh water. And of course, drinking filtered water instead of bottled can save you hundreds of dollars every year!

4.Solar Phone Charger A day Instagramming at the beach or pool can drain cell phone battery life. Take advantage of the sun by using a solar-powered battery charger like the Grid 2 Go mobile charger.

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5.Eco-Friendly Beach Toys Cheap dollar store buckets and shovels don’t hold up and often end up left at the beach. Invest in some really great and durable beach toys from Green Toys, made in the USA from recycled plastic milk jugs!

What are your simple sustainable summer swaps?

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June 30th, 2014

Giveaway: Boiron Arnicare Gel and Calendula Cream

Yes, I am that “green mom” who still relies on plenty of conventional medicine. I don’t think herbs alone will cure an ear infection or keep my anxiety in check.

That said, when there is an alternative or homeopathic method that works for my family, I am all about it! I’m a big believer in integrative medicine, and have found acupuncture and arnica to be just as beneficial to my well being as aspirin.

One natural brand I have found to be safe and effective is Boiron, a world leader in homeopathic medicines. Boiron  is committed to providing products that work naturally with your body without causing drowsiness or drug interactions.

Arnicare Gel works naturally with your body to relieve pain – and I have become very reliant on it for my various CrossFit bumps and bruises! Made from Arnica montana, a natural homeopathic ingredient, it is safe to use at the first sign of muscle pain, swelling from injuries or bruising. Arnicare Gel is unscented, non-greasy and quickly absorbed by the skin, so it’s convenient and easy to use anywhere on your body.

Calendula is the miracle cure for cradle cap and baby acne – it was a must have for those first couple of months with a newborn when all that funky stuff starts to happen! Calendula helps to naturally heal all kinds of skin irritations – including pesky summer bug bites. Calendula Cream is ideal for use on sensitive skin. Use it on dry skin, scrapes or chafing.

 

Giveaway: Enter to win a Boiron Summer Essentials Kit including one full-size Arnicare Gel and one full size Calendula Cream:

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Disclosure: I received samples of these Boiron products for review. Regardless, my opinions are honest. See my full disclosure here. 

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