Thursday, August 30, 2012

In My Weekend Bag

Off to spend one more long weekend at the beach before the end of summer. Below is my eco packing list!

1. Deodorant is one of those things I always forget to pack, thus it always goes at the top of my packing list. Crystal is great because it does a good job of keeping you dry without aluminum chlorohydrate.

2. Chemical-free sunscreen is a MUST for a beach weekend. 

3. Woodies solid bamboo sunglasses (just purchased these via groupon goods!)

4. A weekend at the beach also requires nail polish in order to quickly repair chips in your pedi caused by playing in the sand. Butter London is a great nontoxic nail polish choice. 

5. Since I'll be avoiding wrinkle-causing UVA/UVB rays with my chemical-free sunscreen, I'll also need a paraben-free self tanner so that I can fake a post-beach glow. I love Fair by FakeBake.

6. Salty seawater gets my lips all chapped, so I'll def be bringing my organic eos lipbalm.

7. Tom's strappy wedges are perfect for apres-beach parties. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Organic Cork Handbags

Ingrid Heinkel and Jetta Hanover owners of Cork Design have released a new line of eco-friendly cork handbags and other cork fashion and home accessories that are stylish as well as functional. Cork is a natural, organic, sustainable product that is soft to the touch, feather light yet durable, fire resistant and waterproof.

Cork is a renewable resource, non-animal product. The most predominant cork oak forests in the world are in Spain and Portugal. Cork harvesting is one of the best examples of a sustainable agro-forestry system where people use the natural resources, without disturbing or destroying nature.

Cork Design bags and products retail at $2.00 to $185.00.

For more information

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Avalon Organics Lavender Hand & Body Lotion

Pros                                                                           Cons                   
-Good consistency, effective                                       -Rated a 5 on EWG (moderate hazard)
-Avalon is Champion Status on Compact for               -Has multiple "moderate hazard" level ingredients
  Safe Cosmetics                                                         -Not sold at most drug stores (try Whole Foods)
-Doesn't test on animals
-Good price ($12)
-Bottle made from 100% recycled materials
-Company has sustainability commitments
-Smells amazing
-No artificial fragrances, GMOs, petroleum products
-70% of ingredients are organic

Conclusion - I am bummed that this product has a "moderate hazard" rating on EWG because other than that, this product is perfect! It smells fantastic, is relatively cheap, and really works to keep skin moisturized but not greasy. I also love Avalon Organics' thorough commitment to sustainability and health. I'm not sure if I'll buy this again or not - its hard to find products much better than this, but if I do, I'll let ya'll know ASAP!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Thanks Boloco!

Boloco is setting a great example for restaurants in Boston. Not only are they green certified, but they also promote sustainable behavior:

 Their burritos are TO DIE FOR and they accept LevelUp!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Taranta for Boston Restaurant Week

This week and next week are Boston Restaurant Week(s)! My roommate, Liz, and I decided to use this opportunity to check out an upscale green certified restaurant. So last night we went to Taranta on Hanover St. in the North End. I've been meaning to check out Taranta for a long time, not only because they compost, have organic menu options, and serve biodynamic wines, but also because their fare is quite unique - it is Peruvian/Italian fusion! 

We started with mussels and beef anticucho, then for our main courses, we had the Salvadorian Influenced El Pollo and the Grilled Skirt Steak: 

However, by far the best part of the meal was dessert: lucuma tiramisu and a guava cannoli!!! Dinner was fabulous and it felt great to support a restaurant with sustainable practices.

Taranta and Miel are the only Green Certified restaurants participating in Boston Restaurant Week. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Nature's Gate Tea Tree Shampoo

Pros                                                                          Cons                       
-Effectively cleans hair & soothes scalp.                     -Rated 5 on EWG (moderate hazard)
-Lasts a long time                                                      -Doesn't smooth out knots well
-Company is partnered with WaterAid                       -Has artificial fragrance
-Innovator on Compact for Safe Cosmetics                -Has COCAMIDE DEA
-Not tested on animals                                               
-Reasonable price ($10)
-No parabens or phthalates

Conclusion - I am disappointed that this product has a "moderate hazard" rating on EWG. I purchased it at Whole Foods and thought, therefore, that it would get a good score. I appreciate that Nature's Gate is associated with charities and is part of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, but I am still searching for a shampoo that is rated 0-3 on EWG.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bead for Life at Equal Exchange Cafe

On my walk home from work the other day, I stopped at Equal Exchange Cafe on Causeway St. and was thrilled when I noticed that they sell BeadforLife products! Now I know where to buy my eco/ethical soaps (and get a to-die-for latte at the same time)!

FYI - Equal Exchange accepts LevelUp!!!! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Recap of Boston GreenFest 2012

This past weekend was Boston GreenFest on City Hall Plaza. The weekend was a bit cloudy, but it was much better than the storm that tore through GreenFest 2011. I stopped by on Sunday and though most of the green stands were gone by then, I got to try a delicious Silky Smoothie. I tried detox and watermelon. I loved the watermelon one - it had a hint of mint and tasted cool and refreshing (especially after eating a big brunch at Fisherman's Feast). The movement dance festival was also going on, which was fun to watch. There are some seriously talented youth in this city - it was inspiring.

my friend Sarah Anderson and me at the Silky Smoothie stand at GreenFest 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Suki Facial Treatment at G2O Salon

Last week I had the opportunity to visit G2O Spa and Salon on Newbury St. and get an organic Suki facial treatment. I'd been to G2O once before, for a spray tan last winter, and knew that the salon has a good reputation, calming atmosphere, and helpful staff. The facial was a wonderful treat. I got ready in the locker room which is decked out with modern amenities like a steam room, automatic locker locks, natural soaps, lotions, mouth wash, and deodorant, and nice clean showers. In fact the building is LEED certified, and is Boston's first "green" spa! (Mayor Menino attended the ribbon cutting ceremony in 2010!). I donned a super-soft spa robe and went to my treatment room. There I met Victoria St. James, my estechian. I discussed my past skin problems with Victoria (acne, dry skin, redness, etc.) and then she began the treatment while describing each of the products to me.

The entire treatment was done with items from Suki, which are high-end skincare products made with organic ingredients. Though Suki products are not USDA certified organic, they are all rated between 0-3 on the EWG SkinDeep Database (this is a fantastic rating meaning that all of the ingredients are safe!). In addition to the Suki cleanser, oil, masque, peel, and moisturizer treatments, Victoria also conducted lymphatic drainage on my face and neck. This is simply a way of moving tissues and massaging the skin to encourage the lymph system to stay active. It was an interesting and relaxing experience.

Through my discussion with Victoria, I learned that my mild acne occurs because when the skin resurfaces every 5 weeks, if I don't exfoliate properly, the dead skin stays on top, looking like dry skin and traps new skin and oils underneath. This is a fairly easy problem to solve - exfoliate! She also recommended 2 specific Suki products for me to use at home: the creamy foaming cleanser and the balancing day lotion. Both products help regulate the skin's moisture level so that it is neither too oily or too dry. What I also love about both of these products is the scent. Lemongrass and lavender - fantastic! When I walked out of the spa, my skin was so soft I couldn't stop touching it. My chin was a little red (that is one of my problem areas) but the redness was gone by the next morning and my skin still feels soft and balanced 4 days later.

I highly recommend going to G2O Spa and Salon and trying out one of their eco-friendly offerings. The one I tried was the Organic Clarifying Facial. I can't wait to go back and do it again!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Silky Smoothies

Last night I had dinner with Sheri, the founder of Silky Smoothie, a local, organic & vegan smoothie company. She sells Silky Smoothies at local farmer's markets and will also have a stand at Green Fest on Sunday! I am super excited to stop by and try one of this deliciously fresh looking smoothies!

To find out where you can get your hands on a healthy & sustainable Silky Smoothie, follow Sheri on twitter and facebook.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Fenway Flush

I saw Bruce Springsteen at Fenway last night - which was amazing!!! Since I'm always on the lookout for eco-savvyness, I couldn't help myself from taking a picture of the dual flush toilets in Fenway Park. They are so easy to use, and are a great way to save water - perfect for such a big venue.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mascara

Pros                                                                      Cons                          
-Effective, non-clumpy                                           -Rated 4 on EWG database (moderate hazard)
-Good price ($8)                                                   -One ingredient rated 6 (Benzyl Alcohol)
-Widely available                                                   -CoverGirl has not signed Compact for Safe Cosmetics
-Fewer synthetic ingredients than                            -Description says "a touch of nature" but doesn't specify
 other CoverGirl mascaras                                      
-Paraben free

Conclusion: CoverGirl is certainly not the greenest cosmetics company around, and their NatureLuxe line seems like greenwashing to me, but it is a great step for such a big player in the makeup industry. I like the way this product looks and feels, and though I probably will not buy it again, (I'm still on the hunt for a mascara without ANY synthetic ingredients) I'd recommend this product to green-beauty beginners. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Boston GreenFest 2012

GreenFest starts at the end of the week! Check out the schedule below - and see ya there!

Thursday, August 16
12:00 pmOne Gallon ChallengeTM begins. Participants depart from Plymouth, MA and from Greenfield, MA on a 100 mile trek to Boston GreenFest at Boston City Hall Plaza.
3:30 pmOne Gallon ChallengeTM arrives. Participants complete the 100 mile-trek to Boston and arrive at GreenFest on Boston City Hall Plaza.
5:00-9:45 pmKick-Off Concert at Boston City Hall Plaza, starting with a Native American Drum & Dance Ceremony. Check the Performance Schedule. Choose from many eco-friendly world cuisines available on the Plaza at the Food Emporium and find a range of unique items at the EcoBazaar. Vaughn Anthony, John Legend's brother, will top off the night!
Friday, August 17
Noon-9:45pmThe Festival is in Full Gear! All areas are open: Main Exhibits, EcoArt Gallery, Stonyfield EcoKids, Metro Main Stage, EcoTerrace, EcoTent, GreenFilmFest sponsored by Chipotle, MassEnergy Family Stage, MIT FAB LAB, and more.
10 am-1 pmGreen Entrepreneur Small Business Forum in the EcoTent and the Piemonte Room. Pre-registration is advised since seating is limited to 200. If you are running a small business or thinking of starting one, this event is for you! From 10-11 am, opening session is in the EcoTent. Then move upstairs, inside Boston City Hall, to the Piemonte Room on the 5th floor to continue with workshops and networking.
11:00 am - NoonMassport's Forum: Transportation Tomorrow Today!  Transportation Forum in the EcoTent. Pre-registration is advised since seating is limited to 200. If you are involved in transportation planning or operations, or are interested in thinking creatively about the future of transit, please join us!
12:30 pm - 1:15 pmEcoForum: "Massachusetts' Environmental Vision - How will we achieve an environmentally sustainable economy?" Join this lunchtime discussion bringing together environmental, public health, political and green innovation perspectives" with

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Boston's Commissioner for Public Health
Christina Lampe-Onnerud, former CEO, Boston Power
Sean Bielat, Candidate for US Congress (for Barney Frank's seat)
Ben Manski, Representing Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party's Candidate for US President
EcoForum on the Metro Main Stage.
2:30 pm-3:00 pmMetro Boston GreenBest Award Ceremony in the EcoTent. Come find out what company is the exemplary green organization at our event this year!
Noon-9:45pmFestival day. Performances on the Metro Main Stage (North Stage) and EcoStage.
Noon-9:00pmExhibitors and all activities:EcoFashion Shop: come take a look at eco-friendly clothes, shoes, jewelry and makeup. You can even try things on!
EcoGallery: Fabulous eco-art on exhibit and for sale made by local eco-artists.
Visit the EcoTimeTrail

Speakers & Presentations
sponsored by Chipotle and supported by Suffolk University
at Suffolk University Law School at 120 Tremont Street.
One Gallon ChallengeTM:  Come see the vehicles that drove 100 miles on 1 gallon of gasoline or equivalent. Talk to their inventors about details.
Stonyfield EcoKids Section will be jam-packed with fun activities. Family Stage with live performances.One Earth, RhymeZwell, Zoo New England, and more...EcoPoet DJ Seitu.Check out the Robots! Play with Try Out Toys
Performances on the EcoStage.
5:00-9:45pm"Play for the Planet" on Metro Main Stage (North Stage). Choose from many eco-friendly world cuisines available on the Plaza at the specialty Food Emporium and find a range of unique items at the EcoBazaar.
Saturday, August 18
11:00am-11:25 amBPS EcoPhoto Contest Award Ceremony - See the Winning Schools at the EcoTent. Come applaud the schools that have worked hard to help our children learn more about the environment and contribute to cleaning it up.
11:30am-12:30pmDISNEY Stars on our Stage!Talk about Green with Olivia Holt and Dylan Riley Snyder from Kickin' It on the Metro Main Stage (North Stage. Then come over to the EcoKids Section for a Meet and Greet with the Stars!
11:00am-8:00pmExhibitors and all activities:EcoFashion Shop: program of runway shows, yoga, beauty & fashion tips, healthy eating and more.
Eco-Gallery: Winners of the Boston Public Schools’ EcoPhoto Contest. Enjoy some amazing photographs!
Visit the EcoTimeTrail

Speakers & Presentations
If you haven’t seen American MeatKoyaaanisqatsiPowaqqatsiGasland and other movies to be selected, plan to be at one of the viewings.
One Gallon ChallengeTM:  Come see the vehicles that drove 100 miles on 1 gallon of gasoline or its equivalent.  Talk to their inventors about details.
EcoKids’ Section will be jam-packed with fun activities. Two big inflatables – the Adrenaline Rush obstacle course for kids 6+ and Underwater Sea Adventure for kids ages 2-6. Family stage with live performances. Try Out ToysEcoPoet DJ SeituCheck out the Robots! Face painting. Hula hoops.
Performances on the GreenSouleStage
5:45pm-8:00pmConcert on Metro Main Stage (North Stage)Check the Performance Schedule. Choose from many eco-friendly world cuisines available on the Plaza at the specialty EcoCafĂ© and find a range of unique items at the EcoBazaar.
Sunday, August 19
10 am - 5 pmThe Movement Festival is on the plaza. It will offer free dance and movement classes along with great performances. The EcoBazaar and the Food Emporium will be open.
5:00pmBoston GreenFest 2012 and The Movement Festival conclude. Until next year!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bracelets Made from Recycled Flip Flops

Stacks of colorful bangles are a great way to add a little summer spirit to any outfit. Recycled flip flop bracelets are fun to use for stacking because not only do they look cute, they are a great green conversation starter!

Each jelly-like bracelet is less than $1 and creates a demand for recycled materials. They are made by Free Trade company in South Africa. Order them here.

recycled fashion, upcycled fashion, recycled flip-flops, eco-friendly accessories, sustainable accessories, eco-friendly jewelry, recycled jewelry, upcycled jewelry, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style
image courtesy of

Thursday, August 9, 2012

RRR: Inspirational Mosaics

While browsing on Pinterest, I've found a few mosaics that are the epitome of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Check 'em out!

bottle cap table
Coffee table with bottle caps

Mardi Gras beads!!
Wall art made with Mardi Gras beads.

Floor tiled with bottle caps

all images courtesy of Pinterest

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: VitaCare Toothpaste

Pros                                                                  Cons                   
-Clean feeling after brushing                               -Tastes sweet (might be better for children)
-Good Price ($6)                                               -Rated 6 on EWG (Moderate Hazard)
-Balanced pH                                                    -1 ingredient = 8 on EWG (high hazard)- RETINYL PALMITATE 
-No parabens, pthalates, or petrochemicals        - 7 ingredients listed in moderate hazard range
-No animal testing                                              -Non-signer to Compact for Safe Cosmetics
-No artificial sweetener
-Made in the U.S.
-Company commits to responsible packaging

Conclusion: This product baffles me a little because the company's website claims that they use no hazardous chemicals in their products, but they in fact use chemicals that are rated hazardous and moderate hazard by the Environmental Working Group's SkinDeep Database. This is disappointing since I love that this product is both made in the U.S. and is committed to using post consumer materials in their packaging. The toothpaste is also a bit sweet for my taste, so I'm likely to switch back to Tom's of Maine after this. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

3rd Annual Fragrance Free Day - August 10th

The 3rd Annual Fragrance Free Day is happening next Friday, August 10th, hosted by SeaYu.

The Environmental Protection Association (EPA) states that fragranced products like air fresheners, fabric refreshers and traditional cleaning products contribute to poor indoors air quality, which can lead to health issues.

Fragrance Free Day helps raise awareness about the dangers of fragrances in personal care and household products by giving people the chance to go “fragrance free” for one day.  That means no perfumes, colognes, scented lotions or harsh cleaning products with added fragrances for one full day!  

On Fragrance Free Day (August 10th), SeaYu will be hosting a live Twitter chat from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST using hashtag #fragrancefreeday. Participants can get all their questions and concerns about fragranced products answered by a panel of experts including:
            -Quincy Yu, Founder of SeaYu and green living expert
            -Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
            -Dr. Stephan Ziman, organic chemist

I'll be joining! See ya'll in the twittisphere!

Thursday, August 2, 2012 Shows Frugal Ways to be Green

Check out this great slide show on It has a list of 19 ways of living green that can also save you money! The list isn't just obvious tips either - its a great well rounded list, so I highly suggest taking a look.

Save money while saving the earth Many tips for being green don't quite coincide with frugal lifestyles. In an effort to dovetail these two purposes, money-saving expert Andrea Woroch offers budget-friendly ways to go green.
image courtesy of

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review: Tarte Cheek Stain

Pros                                                                             Cons                                     
-Gorgeous, easily blend-able color                                -Price ($30)
-Widely available (Sephora, Department Stores)           -Rated 4 on EWG (Moderate Risk) 
-Only ONE ingredient listed as high hazard                   -Contains artificial fragrance
-Contains fruit extracts                                                  -Tarte has not signed Compact for Safe Cosmetics
-No parabens, mineral oil, or pthalates

Conclusion: I bought this product in "blissful" and it looks great! It gives a fresh dewy look that is perfect for summer. What isn't so perfect is tarte's use of artificial fragrance in this product. There is no need for blush to have fragrance, but it is in this product and it seriously hindered its rating on EWG. I'm certainly glad that it doesn't contain parabens, but for $30, I can probably find another blush I like without fragrance. If you're wondering why I'm so obsessed with avoiding artificial fragrances, read this!