Boston may be a small city, but there are local bloggers and vloggers covering an incredible array of topics, and luckily for those interested in sustainable living, there are some awesome green beauty bloggers in the city. So if you are interested in detoxing your collection of cosmetics, learning DIY treatments, or get the details on what ingredients to watch out for, add these blogs to your reading list:
Boho Chic Meets Organics
This blog is a great place to find product reviews, gift ideas, and holistic wellness tips. The author, Yeiza, is Boston based wellness coach with a passion for healthy beauty and sustainable fashion.
The Green Queen
Andie the Green Queen is a vlogger covering vegan, natural beauty, diet, and women's health. The great thing about videos is that Andie is able to show you exactly how to use products and you viewers can see the real results.
L'Amour et La Musique
Another vlogger, L'Amour et La Musique is a great channel for makeup tutorials featuring organic, non-toxic products. She covers some lifestyle and music topics as well, and is perfect for eco girls looking for a little glam.
Non Toxique Voyage
Shirley is a Boston based vlogger (who, sadly, is moving to North Carolina this winter - we will miss her!) that uses video to share her journey of learning healthier alternatives for both skincare and diet. Notes on Lifestyle by Georgina
Georgina is a popular lifestyle blogger in Boston that recently discovered green beauty. She covers a lot of healthy living and fitness topics and is a great place to start for those that are new to non-toxic cosmetics and veganism.
Short, Small & Sweet
This is another great blog to find product reviews, DIY beauty recipes, and some delicious food recipes. Inspired by "The Story of Cosmetics," the author, Ru, documents her green lifestyle through her blog.
BONUS - these are commercial brands that have great blogs!
Learn about moringa, the next big sustainable ingredient in healthy beauty.
Boston's favorite skincare startup shares their process.
Beautiful skin is always a great gift! Just make sure to avoid any "treatment" products, because that might come across as an insult to your recipient. These are a few Boston Green Blog approved, ethical, safe skin products that will make great stocking stuffers this holiday season.
1. Organic Bath Drenched, $29
EWG SkinDeep: Not yet rated.
ThinkDirty: 0 (best rating available)
GoodGuide: Not yet rated.
Made right here in Boston from fairly traded USDA organic ingredients. Drenched has quickly become Boston's favorite body moisturizer. It is rich and luxurious, and totally non-toxic! Bonus: Organic Bath Co. partners with 1% for the Planet and the Global Soap Project - so using their products is both healthy for you, people in need, and the earth.
2. Glossier Balm Dotcom, $12
EWG SkinDeep: Not yet rated.
ThinkDirty: Not yet rated.
GoodGuide: Not yet rated.
Glossier is a brand new skincare company by Emily Weiss, author of Into the Gloss. Her products are designed for the busy modern girl and use awesome natural ingredients like beeswax, rice bran and rosemary leaf extracts. The balm is free if parabens and fragrances, making it a healthy choice.
This USDA organic coconut oil balm is super nourishing and is scented with calming lavender essential oil. In fact, coconut oil and lavender essential oil are the only two ingredients - it doesn't get more pure than that! Your skin will love this simple, but highly effective moisture this winter.
4. Belli All Day Moisture, $17.00
EWG SkinDeep: Not yet rated.
ThinkDirty: Not yet rated.
GoodGuide: 5.6 (average)
Belli All Day Moisture cream fully moisturizing, but also refreshing with lemon oil and chamomile. This product is safe for the whole body since it does not contain parabens, phthalates, or artificial fragrances!
5. 100% Pure Body Butter, $22
EWG SkinDeep: Not yet rated.
ThinkDirty: 1 (Excellent rating)
GoodGuide: 6.2 (slightly above average)
This rich body butter is perfect for sensitive skin since it does not contain sulfates, chemical preservatives, or artificial fragrances. The blood orange scent is deliciously revitalizing and great for the winter!
6. Mad Hippie Face Cream, 25.99
EWG SkinDeep: Not yet rated.
ThinkDirty: Not yet rated.
GoodGuide: Not yet rated.
A fun, nontoxic face cream packaged in a BPA-free, recycled bottle. It was recently awarded Best Facial Moisturizer in Natural Solutions Magazine’s Beauty with a Conscience Awards. It is one of the best day creams for winter!
Now that your Thanksgiving turkey has digested, it is a great time to recommit to your health by eating a locally grown plant-based diet! SnapTop Market is a super-easy and convenient way to do so. SnapTop is a small food market based in Boston's south end, specializing in locally grown produced, baked goods, dairy, and dry ingredients. The best thing about SnapTop is that they have plenty of healthy made-to-order meals, including salads, vegetable pasta, and wraps - this totally takes the effort and angst out of healthy cooking! SnapTop is a BIG time saver, especially during the busy holiday season!
The Dirty Dozen was a term coined for a list of twelve fruits and vegetables that are contaminated by the most pesticides and herbacides - the list is a handy guide for consumers so they know what to buy organic. However, toxic chemicals aren't only found in our food. Harmful chemicals can be found in all sorts of consumer products - including the soaps, moisturizers, and makeup we put on our skin everyday. So, health experts have created a Dirty Dozen list for skincare! Print this list and keep it with you when you shop for cosmetics and make sure to read ingredient lists and avoid all of the above chemicals. Or, download an app to do the work for you. I love the EWG SkinDeep app and the ThinkDirty app. both of which have great information on the safety of skincare products.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and many of us are going to eat....A LOT. Luckily, there is a new way to get on track after Thanksgiving and stay feeling good during the holiday season. The Juicery just opened in the North End and offers lots of smoothies, juices and superfoods like chia pudding, quinoa salad, and Harmless Harvest coconut water. We all know that fruits and veggies are good for us, but eating a plant based diet is also better for the planet as the meat industry is behind a lot of methane emissions and water consumption. The Juicery makes it super easy - and delicious - to go vegan or vegetarian after Thanksgiving! I highly recommend the Pine Ango Beet Tango.
1. First things first, REHYDRATE! This is especially important if you had one too many glasses of red wine at Thanksgiving dinner. One of the best ways to re-hydrate is Harmless Harvest raw organic coconut water!
2. Next, stretch it out with a little yoga. Your body will appreciate it for sure.
3. Thirdly, get something done. Of course it is nice to have a few days off, but it is also a great feeling to accomplish something over the long weekend. I suggest holiday shopping on Black Friday - but ONLINE ONLY. Definitely check out ClimateStore.com and Follain's online store for eco gifts for the whole family.
4. Freeze your leftovers, and enjoy them a little at a time instead of binging on them all at once.
5. This weekend is a great time for a digital detox. All of your friends and coworkers want to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families too, so turn off your phone and computer. This will help save energy and your sanity - just in time for the holiday season.
Last week, on the two-year anniversary
of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Walsh announced a regional summit to better prepare Boston for the impacts of
climate change. The announcement also marked the kickoff of an international
design competition focused on climate preparedness, as well as an update of the
City of Boston’s ongoing climate efforts.
“There is no issue more urgent than
climate action. When we work together, the steps we take do more than protect
us: they can bring us closer together, they can create good jobs, they can
improve our health, our public space, and our civic life,” said Mayor Walsh. “I
look forward to working closely with the MAPC, the Metro Mayor’s Coalition, and
the Commonwealth on this critical issue.”
The half-day summit, which will be
held at the University of Massachusetts Boston next spring, is a
first-of-its-kind convening on regional climate preparedness and will establish
a mechanism for coordination of regional, cross-government action going
“It is essential that communities
in the Boston metropolitan area work together on climate change,” said Richard
C. Rossi, Cambridge City Manager. “Climate change is creating new stresses on
our communities, and while we are individually doing a lot within our borders,
what is missing is a regional strategy.”
“The impacts of climate change do
not respect municipal boundaries,” said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of the
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). “It’s incredibly important that all
of the cities and towns in Greater Boston work together to address issues like
sea level rise, coastal flooding, and rising temperatures. Cooperation and planning
are the keys to success.”
The competition invites
multi-disciplinary teams to submit design solutions to sea-level rise for three
sites in the City that will help better prepare the site and the surrounding
community for climate change. The three sites are located in the North End,
Fort Point Channel, and Morrissey Boulevard. The competition will conclude in
the spring, with a first place prize of $20,000. It is funded through a grant
from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, and the Barr
Foundation. Details about the design competition can be found at www.bostonlivingwithwater.org.
The report identified the City’s
vulnerabilities to climate change in order to help departments take action to
prepare. In the past year, the City has made significant progress on reducing
these vulnerabilities, especially in the areas of emergency response, extreme
heat preparedness, flood and stormwater management, capital planning, and
community engagement. Efforts include:
Backup power at emergency shelters: As a
result of $1.32 million in grant
funding from the Commonwealth, four emergency shelters will be
getting solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays to provide at least three days of backup
power during an emergency. In addition, the Office of Emergency Management
(OEM) and Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) are conducting an
Emergency Generator Study to outfit four BCYF Community Centers with emergency
Facility improvements to address
extreme heat: BCYF has purchased tents and water access (sprinklers) to help
handle extreme heat at outdoor programming sites during the summer. In
addition, the BCYF Paris Street Community Center capital project includes
installation of an emergency generator and air conditioning throughout the
building, allowing the facility to serve as a cooling center.
Increased food resilience: With
funding from the Kendall Foundation and the Urban Sustainability Directors
Network, the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives has recently commissioned a
team to complete a city-wide food resilience study. The Department of
Neighborhood Development also continues its efforts to transform vacant lots
into urban agriculture.
Flooding and stormwater management:
A number of green infrastructure projects that help mitigate
flooding have recently been completed or are underway.
Increased education and awareness: Greenovate
Boston, Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), and OEM have teamed up to
deliver concerted messaging during National Preparedness Month. This included
the launch of a new webpage with daily
tips, as well as a community preparedness event that attracted over 200
Better prepared buildings and
·The BRA has implemented a mandatory climate preparedness questionnaire as part of the Article
80 development review process. So far over 60 projects have completed this new
·The Mayor’s new Housing 2030 plan incorporates climate
preparedness goals and actions.
·This fall, the City added a new partner to its property insurance
team. FM Global is an international, mutual-insurance firm with a focus on
loss-prevention engineering. FM Global will work with the City to identify and
prioritize solutions for risks to the City’s 33 largest buildings, and
contribute loss-prevention expertise to the City’s building design processes.
The risks of flooding and high winds, which will increase with climate change,
are priorities at FM Global. Through this partnership, the City gains research
and engineering expertise to help address these risks.
These efforts, along with future
actions to better prepare the community, will be part of the 2014 Climate Action
Plan Update, which will be released the second week of November for public
comment. Interested parties may view and comment on the draft strategies and
actions currently posted at Engage.GreenovateBoston.org.
Last month my co-authors at Just Us Gals and I hosted a gathering of Boston Bloggers at one of our favorite local boutiques - Shake the Tree. This beautifully curated space on Salem St. in the North End is the perfect spot to find gifts and trinkets made by local artisans. While not all items in the store are locally made, the friendly staff are knowledgeable on the origins of each piece and can easily point you in the direction of a Boston-based jeweler or candle maker. Enjoy!
We all buy stuff, there is no way around it. But, a lot of us buy too much. The average American spends between $30 and $60 on clothing each month. So, how often do you buy new clothes? Do you really need them? Are there greener shopping options that you've been meaning to try but haven't? Here is how you can test if you need to make a change:
1) Look at your spending for the last month and make a note of what percent you spent on clothing. If it is more than 5% of your monthly paycheck, you should re-think your shopping habits.
2) Did you buy more than one item of clothing in the past month? Was it practical?
3) If you bought clothing last month - have you worn it yet?
4) Did you look at vintage, thrift, or fair trade options for clothes before making your purchases?
Former Boston Mayor, Thomas Menino, passed away this morning. During his 20+ years as leader of the city, Menino did many great things - including great strides in sustainability and climate change preparedness. Though we'll miss Menino, his legacy will live on for years. We are ever grateful for everything he did for Boston.
In honor of Fair Trade Month, I am sharing some of my favorite fairly-traded beauty products! When we think of fair trade, we often think of chocolate, coffee, and sometimes jewelry - but some of our go-to beauty ingredients, like shea, are grown abroad where farmers and tradesmen and women are not paid fairly for their work. Do your part by supporting companies that ethically source their skincare products. My favorites include:
Love sustainable design? Cutting edge architecture? Non toxic living? Check out the Behind the Walls Magazine kickstarter campaign. I've read through their three issues so far and am loving it! It is like a sustainability-focused Architectural Digest, featuring has diverse content like spotlights on innovative companies, products, and people making a difference in the field. They've partnered with The Wall Street Journal for distribution, but are now looking to take the next step and gain an independent audience. A $25 donation to their kickstarter will give you a 1 year subscription to the magazine! They also have a fantastic website which I highly recommend adding to your RSS reader.
Lets wish them lots of luck - we are anticipating many more informative issues!
Cox Conserves recently conducted a survey to determine the state of sustainable solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. The results revealed an interesting gender gap. Apparently, women are more likely to support sustainability initiatives in the work place and supply chain. Some of the specific results included:
Committed to Increasing Level of Sustainable Business Activities:
• Female: 70%
• Male: 62%
Satisfied with Current Level of Sustainable Business Activities:
• Male: 50%
• Female: 44%
Oct. is National Women’s Small Business Month, proving the survey data to be timely. The results show that women-led SMBs currently embrace sustainability more than those led by men. To help further sustainability among women-owned SMBs, Cox Enterprises will donate one dollar to the Women's Business Enterprise National Council for every person that tweets #CoxConservesSMB through Nov. 30 (up to $10,000).
Earlier this month at BostonEco's Sustainable Home event, I had the pleasure of learning about Green City Growers - a business that "transforms unused space into thriving urban farms, providing clients with immediate access to nutritious food, while revitalizing city landscapes and inspiring self-sufficiency." This gives power to schools, churches, restaurants, and homeowners to build a food-producing farm in any space they have available. It is a perfect solution for those that want to become part of the local food movement but don't have enough resources to build a garden themselves because Green City Growers will install and maintain the raised bed garden space. They also provide urban farming courses and workshops for those that are aiming to be a bit more self-sufficient. Green City Growers is an incredible resource for the greater Boston area, and I look forward to seeing new gardens pop up all over the state!
On Tuesday, Mayor Walsh announced that the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library earned LEED Gold certification! Established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the world's foremost certification program for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of green buildings.
“The City of Boston is committed to green design practices and eco-friendly development,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “By earning LEED Gold certification, the state-of-the art East Boston branch demonstrates how a successful architectural addition to a community can also be a sustainable one.”
The East Boston Branch, a 15,000 square foot building at 365 Bremen Street. The library building earned LEED certification for green design and construction in the areas of energy use, lighting, water, and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. These features include: water conservation through storm water management, rainwater collection, underground recharge tanks, and low-flow bathroom fixtures; sustainably harvested and certified wood; underfloor ventilation and conditioning; a reflective roof; high-performance glass; daylight harvesting/dimming and occupancy sensors; 75 percent of construction waste was recycled; and use of low emitting materials and materials with recycled content.
“This building will not only have a long lasting impact on learning, but also on the City of Boston’s environmental footprint,” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open space. “Developing new municipal buildings in a sustainable way demonstrates the City’s commitment to building healthier buildings for our citizens and to reaching our goal of reducing municipal greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020.”
There is some serious momentum behind the climate change movement right now. How can we keep it going? How can we make sure businesses and politicians see climate change as an immediate issue? How can we continue to take action at home?
For all of us pondering these questions in the wake of the largest climate march in history, the Huffington Post has provided some fantastic answers.
Mainly, vote on November 4th. That is the one of the most important green tips of all! If you aren't already, please register to vote.
Learn what's happening in the local and global green scene! The event will include mix of local Boston area innovative companies to discover new eco living ideas including green home design, urban farming, energy efficiency and more. (BONUS: lots of free samples and giveaways!)
Registration is just $15, but Boston Green Blog is giving away a free ticket!
TWO WAYS TO WIN:
1. All you have to do is share a green living tip on twitter or facebook and tag @BosGreenBlog and @BostonEco, use the hashtag #BostonEco and include the registration link to the event: bit.ly/BosEcoHome
Yesterday, Mayor Walsh launched Solar SystemTM Boston, a new map which enables homeowners and businesses to quickly and easily understand their roof’s solar potential and installation cost estimates. With over 12 MW of solar PV installed in Boston producing roughly enough power to supply 2,000 homes, the new solar map is one more tool to accelerate the adoption of solar and help Boston meet its goal of installing 25 MW of solar by 2020.
“Going solar is increasingly an attractive option for Boston homes and businesses,” said Mayor Walsh. “With solar prices plummeting, and Massachusetts having some of the best incentives in the country, this map will introduce the benefits of solar to a broader audience.”
Solar SystemTM Boston is a partnership with Mapdwell®, a Boston-based M.I.T. spin-off that looks to advance collective sustainability through information, education, and choice architecture, to provide accurate and accessible information about going solar. The tool has mapped all 127,000 buildings in Boston for their solar potential and found that Boston has a potential for 2.2 GW (gigawatts) of solar power. While there are barriers to putting solar PV on every building with good sun access such as roof age and financing constraints, this map confirms the significant potential for solar to expand rapidly in Boston as installation prices continue to drop.
“The City of Boston prides itself on using data and innovative mapping technology to have a positive impact ,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief Information Officer for the City of Boston. “Solar SystemTM Boston will make it easier for residents to take action to increase the use of sustainable energy in the City.”
WHO ARE THEY? Jody and Ashley are certified nutritionists and health coaches that host seasonal detox programs for busy, young professionals. Detoxing helps program participants eliminate chronic headaches, digestive discomfort, and excess weight. It also helps clear up skin and balance moods!
WHAT IS A WHOLE FOOD DETOX?
The Whole Food Detox is a 14 day program guided by Jody and Ashley, that asks participants to only eat whole foods (i.e. no processed foods) and avoid gluten, corn, soy, caffeine, alcohol, red meat, and sugar.
HOW DOES THIS HELP THE ENVIRONMENT?
By eating only whole foods, you are reducing the amount of energy required to make your foods - most "processed foods" are processed by electrical means - using fossil fuels and a high amount of transportation to get from the field, to the factory, to you. By eliminating that middle step, you're not only getting cleaner food, but food with a smaller carbon footprint. Plus, the J+A program is largely plant based and non-meat proteins are encouraged!
Nothing beats Fall in New England for fresh, local produce! Some of our favorite fall foods are just coming into season, so get over to your local farmer's market or farmstand and look for the following items that are in the peak of their season in September:
butternut squash (beginning of season)
Learn more about what crops are in season when over at the Peak-Season Map on Epicurious
Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN), an affiliate of statewide nonprofit The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), launched the new Woolson Street Community Garden in Mattapan on on September 6th with Mayor Martin J. Walsh. Converted from a once vacant lot at 44 Woolson St. which the City of Boston transferred to BNAN, the new Community Garden is the newest of five community gardens in Mattapan, two of which are owned and managed by BNAN.
“In keeping with BNAN and The Trustees’ mission to work together with local residents, partner organizations, public officials and foundations to preserve, expand and enhance open space, community gardens, and greenways throughout the city of Boston, we are thrilled to celebrate the addition of yet another important gardening hub for area residents,” adds Vidya Tikku, BNAN Acting Executive Director.
With funding support from the Department of Neighborhood Development’s Grassroots Program, The Woolson Street Community Garden was developed through a collaborative community process that included residents, community gardeners, the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, Fairmount Greenway Open Space Task Force, Mattapan United and the Community Design Resource Center. The group first imagined, then designed, and finally executed the much-anticipated new space with a goal of improving the neighborhood’s access to green space where they can grow fresh fruits and vegetables and gather to practice healthy lifestyles.
Hurst Landscape and Site Services of Mattapan completed construction of the Woolson Street Garden this summer which features 11 at-grade gardens and one raised, universally accessible plot, each 15 x 20 feet, as well as a composting area and a stylized pathway inspired by the shape of a fern frond. Pear trees, berries, herbs and flowers are planted in plots that line the street edge creating a colorful border and hint of what gardeners can grow in the soil and environment. New gardeners have now organized to sow community as well as a fall crop in the community gardens.
On Just Us Gals, I've been posting a monthly series about non-toxic makeup and beauty products, that I thought would be very appropriate for Boston Green Blog readers too! Here is what you need to know: The U.S. only bans 11 ingredients from cosmetic products, while the E.U. bans over 1,000. The average American woman uses about 15 cosmetic products per day, which exposes her to small doses of some potentially harmful chemicals on a regular basis. While most of these chemicals probably won't make you sick, it is better to be safe than sorry! Am I right?! Here is how you can reduce your exposure:
As part of WeWork's "Track Your Brainstorm" Campaign, I am sharing how, when, and where I get inspiration for Boston Green Blog!
My brainstorms are a little all over the place. I’m an avid list maker,
which is great for capturing ideas on the go. Four years ago, when I founded BostonGreenBlog.com, I had no idea that writing the blog would
help me land a writing gig at CBS and inspire the creation of Just Us
Gals – a women’s lifestyle blog. Now, I am writing
9 – 12 blog posts per week in addition to working full time as a Sustainable
Products Buyer at ClimateStore.com. It’s a lot of work to pack into one week. It is all work that I love –
inspiring people to lead more sustainable lifestyles, but it takes a lot of
time, so I end up having my best ideas while walking the mile to and from South
Station on my way to work.
The walking portion of my commute is the only time of day where I’m not
at a screen – even when I’m at the gym or out for a run, I still have
headphones in with some type of media going, so my walks are my zen time. I’m
able to breathe some fresh air and collect my thoughts. Especially over this
summer when the weather was perfect every day, walks were a relaxing and
stress-free time to prioritize my goals, plan the day ahead, and simply let my
Being an observant person is key to garnering creativity. Even though I
walk the same sidewalk, day after day, it’s amazing how many different people I
see, or events being set up, buildings being built, and of course,
conversations overheard. I use these as tidbits of inspiration to take with me
throughout the day. Sometimes, I’ll stop and take a photo of something I want
to remember, or add to one of my many lists stored in the “reminders” section
of my iPhone. Once I’m at South Station, I hop on my commuter rail to work and
boot up the ol’ laptop to get some writing done. Luckily, commuting through
South Station is convenient in the afternoon because it is located right near
the Melcher St. WeWork location which is a great place to meet other creatives
and Bostonians with true entrepreneurial spirit! Its fun to meet so many other
wonderful Bostonians working hard to make our community a hotspot for