Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LUSH update

I think I did guuuud with my selections yesterday. I got to try out my new things this morning:

I hopped in the shower and picked up my first new item, Karma Komba shampoo. I brushed it across my scalp in a few places, and amazingly it started lathering up. I was not expecting so much lather from a little solid bar! Next was my Jungle conditioner. It smells so good with avocado, banana, figs, and cocoa butter... as does my hair! I followed the instructions on the website, and gently rubbed it from root to tip of my hair. So far, this stuff seems to be working really well for me. I let that sit for a moment while I washed my face with Baby Face. Baby Face (another divinely scented item) uses oils and butters to lift off dirt, so make sure to clean it off with a wet towel if you try it. Then, I rinsed my hair, turned off the water, and hopped out. FIVE MINUTE SHOWER, HURRAY (okay, I kind of forgot to soap up, though)!

After the shower, I lightly spritzed my face with my new Tea Tree Water toner and gently rubbed in a very thin layer of Enzymion face moisturizer. I swear, my face has never felt so soft (or smelled so wonderful). I had to call up Tony and rave: "OH MY GOD DEAR YOU HAVE TO FEEL MY FACE!" Haha, I'm such a nerd. Anyway, it turns out I was probably overly cleaning my face in the past. Previously, I'd get out of the shower and it would be incredibly dry. Throughout the day my skin would try to overcompensate and get too oily. Today it is about 4:30pm and I'm still soft and oil-free! I'm a happy camper.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My obsession: LUSH

I have no idea why I've not previously posted about LUSH. There's more to being vegan than changing your diet. Many bath and beauty products contain animal products, too (or are tested on animals... or both). I started checking out PETA a while back, and was completely dismayed to find that almost every bath and beauty product I owned contained animal fats (gross!) and was tested on animals. The exceptions were my Burt's Bees shampoo and conditioner (though they do have honey), and Bare Minerals makeup (unfortunately their brushes are made from rat hair or something... again, gross!). If you'd like to check PETA's list of animal-friendly or animal-testing companies, go here.

Anyway, I decided I'd search the internet for some vegan shampoos and such. One of the first things I came across was a post about LUSH on Vegan Beauty Review (LOVE that site). I was instantly intrigued looking through their products online, so I found a LUSH store near me and gave it a visit. Mmmmm, that place is seriously heaven. Everything smells so natural and yummy! My favorite scent is karma; it smells kind of like incense (with patchouli, lemongrass, pine, and orange oil). They have all kinds of goodies on which you can easily blow way too much money... trust me.

I've been using their I Love Juicy shampoo and Veganese conditioner for about a month and a half now, and my hair has never felt softer. My hair is super picky, too. Wavy and very fine, it easily gets too dry or too weighed down by most conditioners. I've also been using Karma Kream body lotion (it smells so intoxicatingly good!), a few different LUSH soaps, Happy Hippy both as an occasional shampoo and shower gel, and Aromarant Deodorant (a solid chunk of deodorant that also smells totally amazing with lemon and sandalwood). I'm completely in love with them all!

Today I got to go on a mini Lush shopping spree. I was in dire need of a facial moisturizer, but of course, I did not stop there! In accordance with my new commitment to live a greener life, I decided to try a solid shampoo and conditioner (less packaging + no preservatives + lasts longer). I also picked up a spray facial toner, a new face wash, and one of their bath bombs. Oh, by the way, bath bombs are awesome! You toss one in the bath and it fizzes up and dissolves. A lot of the bombs have cool little things in them that float in the bath, like dried flower petals, too. And of course, they smell delicious!

I can't wait to see how my new purchases work out. My hand smells so great where the store associate tried the face wash and moisturizer on me. I highly recommend LUSH whether you're vegan or not! Oh, one last thing: look for the little green encircled V on the products to signify vegan.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Birthday cupcakes

Ok, so, I'm a little late on this, but I had to post the cupcakes Care and I made for mom's birthday on Monday. We followed the recipe in The Kind Dietfor Alicia's favorite cupcakes. I am not exaggerating when I say they were probably the best cupcakes I have EVER had. And that's including Sprinkles! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Alicia. My hero.

The frosting came out looking a little funny (we didn't beat it fast enough at first), but mmmmm!!! Part of the success may be due to the fancypants organic madagascar vanilla and organic green's black cocoa powder we used (yah, not the greenest ingredients considering their travel time here, but I feel a few indulgences are alright when they bring such pleasure). One other cool thing about these cupcakes: they use agave nectar rather than sugar! That's always exciting to me. The cake part is plain white cake (we substituted half the vanilla with almond extract, since mom mentioned she'd like almond flavored cake; it worked well!) and the frosting is chocolate. Om nom nom *drool* So moist!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Go Green - Part 1

As you may have noticed, I've been working on the book Green Chic in my spare time. I'm not done reading it yet, but I want to share some of Christie Matheson's suggestions with you. There is so much important information, I figured I'd post it in parts to make it easily digestible (like a plant-based diet! ... had to throw that in there). Today I'll share some easy changes you can make from the chapter "Little Green Things." (Don't you just love that chapter title!?)

- Replace your lightbulbs with CFL's (compact fluorescent lightbulbs). CFL's use on average 2/3 less energy than incandescent bulbs. Also, use lower wattages in rooms in which you don't need to see as well (like the bedroom) and save higher wattages for places you do need to see well (like the bathroom and kitchen). Christie's suggestions are 23W in the bathroom, 19W in the kitchen, 13W in the living room, and 11-13W in the bedroom. CFL's cost more than incandescents, but last ten times as long and save you money on your energy bill. The only thing with CFL's is that it's not safe to simply trash them when they burn out. If they break, they can leak mercury, which we all know is not good! Awesomely enough, IKEA offers receptacles for them.
- Turn off the light if you leave a room, even just for a short time. Pretty obvious, right?
- Don't buy bottled water. I remember seeing a commercial on this about a year ago that really drove the message home for me. Something about 100 years in a landfill for your one bottle of water. Your best option if you like to tote water around with you is to buy a faucet attachment water filter and fill up a reusable bottle. Trying to reuse bottles from purchased bottled water is a bad idea because they serve as great breeding grounds for bacteria. Along these same lines, if you're like me and have to have your daily Starbucks, get yourself a reusable coffee cup. Added benefits: your coffee stays warmer longer and a lot of times you get a small discount on your drink.
- As far as I know, at this point conserving water has passed conserving energy in importance. We are running out of clean water (and evil factory farms like Smithfield like to dump animal waste into rivers or let it seep into groundwater from their lagoons of waste). So, that said, don't leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth or go #2 with people around, don't run the shower for long periods of time before getting in, and try to use less while washing dishes.
- This one is pretty simple. Ask for no bag when you purchase something small. Throw it in your purse or pocket instead.
- Take shorter showers. This one is going to be the hardest for me. I am notorious for my long showers. Christie suggests checking a clock as you get in and out of the shower to get an idea of how long you take, so you can begin cutting back. Yesterday I took ten minutes (sadly it was one of my shorter showers, too). I'd like to see that number drop to six! If you can stand it, turn down the heat a bit, too.
- This one is for the ladies! Try waiting 15-20 minutes after you get out of the shower before you dry your hair. Your hair will still look great and you'll cut back on drying time.
- Unplug chargers. Even when they aren't charging anything, they're still sucking energy. Plus, they just plain aren't pretty! If you think about it, you're already unplugging your phone or ipod or whatever, so how hard is it to take the extra second to unplug the charger, too?
- Wash your clothes with cold water. It works just as well and helps prevent fading.
- Turn your thermostat down a degree or two in the winter and up a degree or two in the summer. Amazingly, you'll save 240 pounds (if you use electric heating, 320 pounds if gas) of CO2 emmissions a year by turning it down a degree in the winter and about 120 pounds by turning it up a degree in the summer.
- Lastly, do NOT go out and buy a whole new set of "green" furniture. Just buy greener the next time you need something. Consumerism is very not green.

Remember the addage: "reduce, reuse, recycle," and think of it literally in that order. Yes recycling is great, but first we need to reduce our consumption and reuse everything we can. I hope these suggestions help one of you three or four loyal readers!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Intro to Green Design

As you know, Monday was my mom's birthday. I was supposed to go to my green design class that night, but my family convinced me to email my professor the research I had due and stay home to celebrate with them. The assignment was simply to choose an environmental problem and research it. Shockingly, little vegan me chose factory farming as my topic. I found information on factory farms' excessive use of pharmaceuticals, hormones given to cows, and mainly environmental devastation due to toxic animal waste. I found a great Rolling Stone article on Smithfield (the largest American pig raiser and distributor).

Well! The professor was so intrigued by my research that he waited until today's class to have everyone present their information, and he asked me to go first. I was pretty nervous, but I think I did a decent job of clearing some of the fog about the factory farm system for my classmates. I am still completely stoked that I got the chance to spread knowledge on something I'm so passionate about. It's pretty cool to look around a room of concerned faces hanging on your every word and know your point got through to at least a few.