Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bamboo Smooth Anti-Humidity Hair Spray Review

Dry winter air = static hair. I have frizzy wavy hair and have tried lots of products to tame and smooth my hair. Hair products are basically bottles of chemicals, so searching for a healthy hair spray alternative was no easy task. After reading lots of labels, I settled on Bamboo Smooth Anti-Humidity Hair Spray by Alterna. The claims were promising: No parabens, sulfates,synthetic dyes, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan. And though none of it was third-party verified, I was excited to read this:

"This product is made with sustainable ingredients that are ethically traded, eco-certified, fair-trade compliant, and certified organic. The production and sale of the ingredients aids in supporting the development of local communities.    This product does not contain sodium chloride, gluten, and TEA phthalates."

So now you're probably wondering: does it work? Yes, it works well as a medium-hold hair spray. I suggest using it with a light touch because over-spraying makes hair look greasy. Although it didn't have as firm a hold as my previous hairspray, my hair styling lasted all night, and I was delighted to see that my hair was still straight the next morning - no need to brush before brunch!

I highly suggest this product for women with thick or frizzy hair. Girls with straight or more oil-prone hair may want to try a different product though because the organic kendi oils and bamboo extracts may make the hair look wet. (On thick hair, these oils have a great smoothing and shining effect). 

This product is not yet reviewed on the EWG Skin Deep Database. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

When "Eco" is Evil

The words "green," "natural," and "eco," are widely used to market products in today's economy. When they are used properly, these words help consumers purchase more responsible products and make a positive difference in how goods are produced and sold. However, these buzzwords aren't always used to market good products, for example, I was shocked and horrified to see an add for "eco-friendly" cigarettes! I was flipping through a popular woman's magazine when I found this add:

While it is great that this company (Natural American Spirit) is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint and minimize its waste, it is still shocking that it is using this to sell cigarettes. This add is morally confusing! Smokers should still strive to quite - regardless of whether they are smoking "green" cigarettes. Afterall, by smoking, they are posing immediate environmental hazards to everyone around them...even long after they've stubbed out their cig (see: 3rd Hand Smoke).

Friday, November 25, 2011

GWBW: Thanksgiving Edition

Its been a good week for local harvest - especially items like pumpkin, cranberries, and butternut squash which are easily available in Massachusetts.

Image courtesy of

It has been a bad week for Turkeys (duh!). But Turkeys may have a higher carbon footprint than you think:

"Most likely your turkey traveled by truck to get to your grocer. That trip probably started in a state like Minnesota or North Carolina, which are leading turkey producers. The cranberries are most likely from Wisconsin or Massachusetts, two states that produce more than 80 percent of the nation's cranberries. But the National Resources Defense Council suggests that many ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner can be found at local farmers markets." Steve Inskeep, NPR, 2008

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

7 Reasons to Avoid Black Friday

1. Green Gift Monday - be a responsible shopper and get great deals on sustainable gifts by waiting until the Monday after Thanksgiving.

2. Small Biz Saturday - skip Macy's and support your local economy by checking out Small Biz Saturday deals in your area.

3. Crowds! - The sheer chaos of Black Friday is enough to keep me away!

4. Long Lines - even if you can handle the crowds, the long lines at the registers are sure to test your patience.

5. Parking - simply put, parking is a nightmare at any mall on Black Friday.

6. Sleep in - enjoy your long weekend and forget waking up at 4am.

7. Spend quality time with visiting relatives and friends - instead of shopping, do something that allows you to cherish your time together.

image courtesy of

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

7 Ways to have a Sustainable Thanksgiving

1. Stay local. Why leave the metro-Boston area? This is where Thanksgiving began!

2. Cook seasonal dishes from locally grown goods. In MA there are plenty of local cranberries, squash, potatoes and even turkeys. A great goal would be to make your entire feast from ingredients grown/produced within 100 miles or so from where you live.

3. Cook an appropriate amount. Do you always end up throwing out food in the weeks after Thanksgiving? Try to cut down on the waste this year.

4. Skip the nasty casserole. Is there a dish that barely gets touched but you still cook it every year out of tradition? Stick with the delicious traditions and skip the outdated/unloved ones.

5. Do something active. Hiking is a great way to enjoy nature and get a head start on losing that holiday pudge.

6. Store leftovers in glass (or at least reusable) containers. NO PLASTIC BAGS!!!

7. Complete the meal by serving biodynamic wine choices.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Easy Urban Homesteading

Urban homesteading can be an intimidating word - not all of us are ready to raise chickens in downtown Boston, but in all reality, there are many ways to add small bits of the urban homesteading lifestyle into your everyday routine. I recently read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading which has some great tips for how to grow edible plants (including an entire how-to guide for growing mushrooms in your closet...woah!).

After reading the book, I decided to grow some herbs in my window sill. Since my herb box is indoors, I'll be able to have fresh herbs all year round. My basil plant is doing particularly well, which is great for making pesto, bruschetta, pasta dishes, and pizza.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Good Week, Bad Week

This is the second edition of Good Week, Bad Week (GWBW).

It has been a good week for Merino Sheep because as the temperatures drop, wool sweaters, scarves, hats, mittens, and snoods are becoming all the rage. Especially since consumers are looking for eco materials like wool rather than rayon and polyester.

image courtesy of

It has been a bad week for Super Mario. He has gotten a lot of negative attention from PETA regarding his fur suit!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holiday Wishlist

Dear Santa,

I have tried to be a good girl this year, so I'd like presents that are good too, like:

1. Lip Tint by Tarte Cosmetics

2. Tom's Women's Holiday Classics in Red

3. Lotus Earrings from

4. A Cozy Wool Snood by PeopleTree

5. A Subscription to Coco Eco Magazine

6. A Garment Steamer (more efficient than an iron!)


p.s. I left out some vegan cookies for you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What is the Best Natural Deodorant?

As I explained in my article In the Pits: The Great Deodorant Debate, traditional deodorants often contain dangerous chemical compounds that are known estrogen mimics. Because of the possibility that these deodorants could lead to cancer, I switched to natural deodorant about a year ago. I have now tried two different brands that are much safer than traditional deodorants: Crystal Roll-on and Tom's of Maine. Here are my observations about each:

Crystal                                                            Tom's
Pros: Works well as an antiperspirant,             Pros: Scented varieties smell great,
Long lasting, Rated 0 on Ewg Skin                  Cheaper than Crystal,Doesn't dry out skin,
Deep Database.                                              Has responsible packaging and
                                                                      company commitments to
                                                                      community service.

Cons: About $1 more expensive than              Cons: Doesn't work as well as Crystal
Tom's, Takes a minute to dry after                  as an antiperspirant, Doesn't last as long,
application, Can be drying to skin.                   Rated higher (2) on the
                                                                      Ewg Skin Deep Database.

Conclusion: While Tom's of Maine is a wonderful company that is making a true positive difference for the environment, Crystal Roll On works better and contains safer ingredients. I highly recommend Crystal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birthday Dinner at 75 Chestnut

I've been excited about this restaurant for months and I finally went last night for my birthday dinner. 75 Chestnut in Beacon Hill caught my attention because they feature local and in-season ingredients, organic wines and liquors, and have a recycling seminar every Thursday. In fact, when I sat at my table, the first thing I noticed was a list of "green libations" - cocktails made with certified organic ingredients! (My photo is blurry because it was dim in the restaurant, but it says "The path to a more sustainable life can be delicious.")

I kept with my Green Goal of doing "Meatless Mondays" by ordering the pumpkin ravioli. It was simply amazing! Served with a butternut squash vodka sauce, the pumpkin ravioli was the perfect fall dinner. In fact, I ate it all before I remembered to take a picture ...oops!

So next time you want to go out to eat, I highly suggest 75 Chestnut. It is easily accessible by public transit and is closest to the Charles/MGH stop on the red line. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Birthday Cupcakes!

It is my 25th birthday today. YIKES! Luckily for me, Sweet features a vegan cupcake every Monday! What a perfect birthday treat. Plus, I love that Sweet is an example of a successful small business in Boston. It now has locations in the Back Bay, Newbury St., Harvard Sq., and Downtown. Their cupcakes are a bit pricey, but its my birthday and I'll cupcake if I want to!!!!!!

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Healthy Fasting Tea by Yogi

I have a bad habit. I am a late-night snacker. I've read and been told over and over again that eating right before bed (or in bed) is bad because that is when your metabolism is the slowest. Lets just say that I do a lot of my "research" for food reviews right before bed. Yikes!

In my quest to break this habit, I decided to try Yogi Healthy Fasting Tea. I was, and still am, skeptical of the product's claims because they haven't been evaluated by the FDA. But, to be honest, I think it just might work! I just had some edamame and a glass of organic milk for dinner, then drank some of the tea about an hour later and another glass right before bed....and guess midnight snacking! This might have been mental, or because edamame is a good source of protein that might of kept me full, but regardless, I'm going to continue using Yogi Healthy Fasting and see how it goes. The tea is made with organic red clover and other "all natural" ingredients/herbs that are known to be appetite suppressants. Plus, Healthy Fasting is herbal tea, meaning it is caffeine-free - a perfect pre-bedtime drink. Bonus: it tastes great!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tarte High Def Inner Rim Eyeliner

I am so done putting chemicals in and on my eyes! Time for beautiful makeup that is safe to use and has minimal environmental impact. It can be difficult to find eco-friendly makeup because there aren't many green brands sold in area drug stores. Besides Burt's Bee's, I  haven't seen much in CVS stores or Walgreen's in the Boston area. Many eco-beauty websites recommend Miessence, but it is very hard to find these products in stores, because the products are sold by individuals (think Avon). Luckily for me, Sephora has a nice big Tarte Cosmetics counter.
     Tarte is a moderately priced cosmetics company that makes effective products from natural ingredients. Their products aren't USDA certified organic or anything, but they make a great effort to make all of their products chemical-free. I recently purchased  the emphasEYES™ eyeliner natural high definition inner rim eyeliner pencil and I love it! At first it was a little difficult to use because the color didn't spread as easily as my previous eyeliner, but once I got the hang of it, I was completely sold!


After (including Physician's Formula Organic Mascara)

The eyeliner does not contain parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, or fragrance. It is also cruelty-free and packaged in eco-conscious cardboard with soy-based inks. 

Yay for beeswax and mineral eyeliner like this one!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Green Alma Mater

This past weekend I had a fabulous time at Homecoming Weekend at St. Lawrence University. It was great to see old friends and reminisce, but it was also wonderful to see that SLU is keeping the green dream alive. In between tailgating, party hopping, bookstore shopping, and gossiping, I was able to document a few green observations:

The no-mow zone began while I was a student, and while the initiative was fairly unpopular among students (who thought it would make our campus look unkempt), I was happy to see that the no-mow initiative was going strong. It also gives campus a nature-preserve type vibe, with the birdhouses and sounds of crickets!

 I was thrilled to see signs in the Pub reminding students to buy locally!

And students will have an easier time buying locally anyway because there are lots of new local options such as these locally grown potato chips.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good Week, Bad Week

Inspired by my fav. weekly blurb in TIME Magazine, I've decided to start doing Good Week, Bad Week (GWBW) Eco-style every Friday!

First off, it has been a great week for Clean Energy in Massachusetts. Tuesday was the Conference on Clean Energy, and the entire week has been packed with energy themed events and educational campaigns. Even though I was not able to attend the conference, I was still able to get some sneak peaks by following live tweets!

NOT such a great week for Reese Witherspoon. The actress was spotted toting a python skin handbag on the 1st, even though the purchase and sale of snake skin is illegal in the state of California. The actress was blasted in the media by PETA and has since apologized. She opted for a leather bag yesterday - a legal choice, but still not the most eco-friendly. tisk tisk

(sorry guys, I have to post this today because I will be hitting the road tomorrow and won't have access to a computer. TGIF!)

Wait, I Almost Forgot...

Woah Woah Woah, I forgot to add three great finds to this week's product roundups! First off, for my Lavender Post, I should have added my fav eco-minded lavender scented laundry detergent: Vaska!
It works really well - especially with coffee & wine stains (quite familiar with those!)

Image courtesy of, where, yes, you can purchase them in 4 Packs!

Next up, how could I have possibly written about earth-friendly dental care without mentioning toothbrushes! I don't yet have a sustainably produced toothbrush, but when I need to replace my current brush, I am going to purchase these adorable and inspiring bamboo toothbrushes by Izola:

Finally, I just stumbled across this beautiful coat for sale on It is made of over 60% bamboo and is sweatshop/cruelty free and vegan:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Coats with a Conscience

Snowtober got me thinking about my coat situation. Cold weather is already here, so to make coat shopping easy for you, I've found three great eco-friendly women's coats:

Fair Trade Organic Cotton Coat from PeopleTree. (My fav)

Peace Silk Coat from Nancy's Gone Green (local business!)

Organic Cotton Coat from Ecolissa (local business!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Recovery: Clean & Green Teeth!

Snap out of that sugar coma! The day after Halloween is the perfect time to ramp up your dental health routine, and maybe make it more sustainable. I happen to be a huge fan of Tom's of Maine Simply White Toothpaste. It is sustainably and ethically produced, packaged in recycled materials, and still makes my mouth feel fresh. Plus it has safe and clinically proven whitening ingredients.

However, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect mouthwash. I am currently using Tom's of Maine Peppermint Mouthwash, and I love the green aspects of this product, but it is a little sweet for my liking. I would love to hear from readers that have a favorite sustainable mouthwash!

Finally, it is important to floss, but often, floss is coated in petroleum based/plasticy feeling waxes. However, there are safer alternatives widely available in most drugstores. It takes a little label-reading, but Tom's of Maine is always a good bet, and their floss is rated very well on the EWG Skin Deep Database. 

My next green goal is to purchase a toothbrush made from recycled materials!