Day 5: Green Beauty Books…Learning in Progress

The thing you have to remember about making any lifestyle change is that it’s a work in progress (constantly…). As a part of my journey I read a lot and try to absorb information that will help me make beneficial changes. So, this week I want to share some books that I am aware of that should assist you in  learning more about how to detoxify your cosmetics stash.   This list is by no means all-inclusive but it will give you a solid start. As I learn about others I will be sure to share them.

No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products–and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics by Siobhan O’Connor & Alexandra Spunt 

 

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This book is one of the latest that I’ve come across.  A friend mentioned it to me and I’m glad that she did.  The authors’  journey started with their discovery that  one of their favorite salon treatments contained the harmful chemical, formaldehyde.  As a result they began to research a wide range of products to uncover any dirty ingredient lurking in their midsts.  In this book they share their findings as well as suggestions on how to detoxify your beauty regimen.

 

Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry  by Stacy Malkan

 

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Not Just a Pretty Face takes a look into the dark side of the beauty industry including the use of  hormone-disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals that may contribute to breast cancer, even by companies that market themselves as pink ribbon leaders in the fight against breast cancer. This book also examines how products used by men and women of childbearing age contain chemicals linked to birth defects and infertility. Most importantly, this book offers some hope for the future by suggesting ways in which individuals can push the cosmetic industry and the government towards a safe cosmetics makeover.

 

Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products Endanger Your Health….and What You Can Do About It by Samuel S. Epstein, MD

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Toxic Beauty investigates the health risks present within the cosmetics industry.  It  takes a look at some of the toxic ingredients in anti-aging products for women, men’s deodorant, aftershave,  cologne, etc. This is a good resource for learning how to identify harmful ingredients and make better decisions for yourself and your entire family.

 

There you go….If you know of any other books please share them in the comments below.  Later, I will share some of my go-to web links and bloggers.  Until then, be safe, happy and healthy!

 

*Side Notes: I want to remind you about my post a few weeks ago where I shared a couple of databases that are great resources for safe cosmetics and personal care products research. I also want to make you all aware of another app that I’ve recently added, Think Dirty.  You might want to give it a try as well.   Also for those that missed them, click on the “Green Beauty” category to the right to view the other days in our green beauty journey.

 

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Almond Flour Brownies – Experimenting….

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One difficulty in trying to eat right is finding great desserts.  It seems that nothing beats white flour, refined sugar and a big stick of butter.  Still, I want to experiment with ways to make great desserts that use alternate ingredients.  In this instance I was looking for a way to avoid the use of refined sugar.  I wasn’t looking for a grain free recipe but during my search I came across a recipe for Almond Flour Brownies on Pinterest.  The  original version of this recipe comes from Grain Free Foodies and I figured since I had all of the simple ingredients I would give it a shot.

We love walnuts in brownies, along with a dollop of ice cream.  However, for the sake of experimenting I went forward with neither.  I have tried other “healthier” brownie options including low cholesterol and black bean varieties. So far, this is the best brownie alternative that I’ve found.  They have a rich flavor and are very moist.  I can’t wait to try these again with nuts and maybe a mix of almond and coconut flours.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Mix honey, coconut oil, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Beat eggs until foamy before adding to wet ingredients.

3.  Add almond flour, cocoa and sea salt. Stir to blend.

4.  Poor into greased 8x8x2 inch pan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until the top feels cakey.

5.  Cool on a wire rack at least until sides pull away from the edge of the pan before cutting.

*Find the original recipe which includes other options here.

As I continue to experiment I’ll be sure to share my finds.  If you know of any “healthier” dessert recipes please share them with us in the comments.

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Book Review: True Gold by M. M. Justus

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Author: M. M. Justus

Series: Time in Yellowstone

Publisher: Carbon River Press

Summary:  A young lady, Karin Myre, tired of being her family’s work horse, longs for a better life on her own terms. So, she steals away aboard a ship in Seattle  bound for rivers overflowing with gold and untethered adventure in the Klondike. Like many that took this journey she finds that it is not without it’s share of hardships and unexpected conflict. Fortunately, by chance or destiny she  happens among two men ( a photographer and young prospector)  that become her partners and allies along this arduous path. Together they forge North in search of their own brands of fortune. Karin finds her fortune and learns that “true gold” takes a form much different that she expected.

My Thoughts: 

This book is actually the second in the series and it appealed to my interest in historical fiction.  The search for gold in the western part of the U.S. and Canada is a familiar theme in American literature, as is love stories that come out of this backdrop.  However, this story definitely has it’s own take on this popular period in history.  What I appreciate is that author zooms in on particular facets of the journey to the Klondike.  She artfully takes the reader through the difficulty of the actual journey. Details such as the hardships of getting ashore, traversing steep paths and waiting seasons to cross treacherous rivers, takes this iconic piece of history and somehow makes it more relatable.  By zeroing in on the aspirations of three characters and their day to day activities turns idealized historical fiction into a tangible journey of perseverance and determination.

Speaking of the characters, one of the characters is based on a photographer of the time.  It’s his photo that graces the cover of the book.  He is integral to the story but he does not overshadow it.  This nod to historical accuracy without a dependency on his celebrity is a hard line to walk.  I must say that M. M. Justus walks it expertly which demonstrates both her commitment to historical detail and artistic license.

I also enjoyed her depiction of the heroine, Karin.  Women of her time were expected to follow certain codes of conduct and follow the directions of the men in their lives.  It was unheard of for a young woman to strike out on her own, much less to attempt the trek to the Klondike.  The fact that she does so sets a feminine tone but a realistic one. She encounters difficulty because of her sex.  However, unlike heroines of other novels the author still manages to portray her strength and determination without paining her as “another silly woman”.  She is in essence the Tom Sawyer of the Yukon without the need to relinquish her femininity.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read which has renewed my interest in this historical period.  I look forward to reading more from her and have already downloaded the next novel in the series.  If you enjoy tales from the West of adventure, searches for treasure and relationships I suggest that you give this series a try. You will appreciate the intelligence of the author’s mix of history, storytelling and romance.

Purchase this book and others in the series from Amazon or Smashwords.

*Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author in participation with Library Thing’s Member Giveaway Program. However, this review solely represents my thoughts and opinions. I did not receive any compensation for this review. Photo courtesy of http://mmjustus.com.

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Liebster Award Nominee!!


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Last month, Honey Lemon Tea, was nominated for the Liebster Award!  I want to thank Nature’s Pulchritude for the nomination and the support.  If you are interested in natural and organic beauty products and lifestyle you will love her blog!   For those that don’t know (because I didn’t) this award is an award passed around the blogging community to  recognize newbie bloggers or bloggers that you think deserve more recognition. So, it is truly an honor to be recognized by other bloggers and appreciated for our efforts.

The Rules:

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award.
  2. Answer eleven questions the blogger gives you.
  3. Give eleven random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate eleven blogs you think are worthy of the award (but they must have less than 200 followers.) **This rule is a little misleading since twitter followers may be included as well.  So, you might not be able to tell the true number of “blog followers”.  Make a guess and choose who you love.
  5. Let the bloggers know you nominated them.
  6. Give them eleven questions to answer.

 

Questions via Nature’s Pulchritude:

1. What is your favorite place to visit? The beach!

2. Are you double jointed? No.

3. What is your favorite nail polish color?  Ali by Zoya (bright pink)

4. What 3 topics interest you most? This is a hard one!  If I had to only select three I would say: fiction writing, organic beauty and cooking.

5. Have you ever milked a cow? Um, no.

6. What has been an important life lesson for you? I’ve learned that it’s important to understand that progress doesn’t happen over night.  You have to constantly cultivate patience and celebrate small victories.

7. If you were stranded on a island, what two items are you bringing? I’m assuming we are not counting people here. So, if stranded on an island I am bringing my pre-packaged survival kit (still counts as one item) and a journal with pen.

8. Do you bake (cookies, cakes, bread, etc.)? Yes, I do bake.  I mostly bake cookies and occasionally a coffee cake or yearly birthday cake.

9. Have you ever been scuba diving? No and I can’t see myself ever doing so.  The older I get the more “scary” I become.

10. When was the last time you went to a zoo? Johnny and I went to the zoo in 2011.

11. What is the strangest food you have ever tasted? I would probably have to say, escargot.  I know it’s a delicacy but the bottom line is that they are still snails.

 

11 Facts About Me:

1. I like the way it smells outside just after the rain.

2. I don’t like beets.

3. I have one brother and one sister.

4. Their Eyes Were Watching God is the only book I’ve read more than twice.

5.  I think work weeks should be four days.

6. I didn’t get my license until I was in college (very strange in the South).

7.  I’m afraid of scary movies.

8. I’m a light sleeper.

9.  I have a dog named Harley Davidson (I got her when I really wanted a motorcycle).

10.  I don’t like shopping with other people.

11.  I prefer the sound of records to other forms of media.

 

Questions for Nominated Bloggers:

1.  Why did you start blogging?

2. What was your favorite television show as a child?

3. Are you allergic to any foods?

4.  What is one of your guilty pleasures?

5.  What is your favorite sport?

6.  What is your favorite season of the year?

7.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

8.  Tea or coffee?

9. What is the last book you read?

10.  What is your favorite comfort food?

11.  If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?

 

Honey Lemon Tea has nominated (drumroll, please….)  :)

* This list is in no particular order.  Some of you may have more than 200 followers but it can be hard to tell based on how numbers are tabulated.  Anyway, I love what you do.

Simply Me Dri

Cardigan-Clad Culinary

Peace on the Skin & Peace Within

Cook’s Reviews 

Word and Rhyme

Easy Recipes Before and After Work

The Natural Junkie

Hey Natural Beauties 

Naturally Marcy

Tea in the Ancient World

Diary of an Eager Reader

Congrats!! :)

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Tea of the Month: March 2014


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We are already into April and I didn’t want too many days to pass by without telling you all which tea was my favorite the past month.  I didn’t do too much experimentation in March and actually my morning tea was simply Tetley British Blend.

040214125612-mainbritish_blend_lThis particular Tetley blend is actually one of my favorite bag-filtered teas.  The round stringless bags contain more tea than traditional tea bags which results in a cup of tea with a punch.

I find that I get a very fast infusion from these bags which is great during those morning when I just want a quick cup before beginning work. I just steep, add organic raw honey and cream, then get the day started. The resulting flavor is full and strong.  If you want to try having tea in the morning instead of coffee, this may be a great transitional tea for you.

Comment below if you like this blend or have another quick to-go tea for busy mornings.

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Green Beauty All-Star: Gianne of Organic Bath Company

 

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Happy Monday!  Today, I am very excited to share my interview with Gianne of Organic Bath Company.   If you remember from my Safe Skincare/Cosmetics Story I have skin sensitivities that make using most mainstream skincare products unbearable.  In fact, I had completely given up on commercial body washes and scrubs. So, I cannot stress how pleased I was  to find some bath products that are health conscious, organic and luxurious.

Beyond the products themselves, Organic Bath has made a commitment to give back to the community. Johnny and I admire them for their mix of entrepreneurship and social responsibility.  After reading this interview I think you will understand why I have designated this company as a “Green Beauty All-Star”.

Now, let’s get into the interview:

 

Gianne, thank you for speaking with Honey Lemon Tea. What motivated you to go organic in your skincare and cosmetic choices?

I had always made an effort to eat organic foods when possible, but I never really put a lot of thought into what I was putting ON my body…that is until I started breaking out in hives from some of my beloved beauty products. I started doing research, following leaders in the green beauty community on social media and was surprised I didn’t have issues sooner!

What has been your greatest challenge in making a transition to organic? How about your greatest reward?

My greatest challenge has been finding substitutes for so many things that I never thought were an issue before. Deodorant, makeup, cleansers. I never realized all of the junk that is in most consumer beauty products.

My greatest reward has been converting the ones I care about most, my loved ones! I want them to be healthy and I want them to take care of their largest organ, their skin.

One of my girlfriends recently told me she forgot her Zesty Morning Body Butter on a trip so borrowed a friend’s lotion and it made her skin itch! Her skin had become accustomed to our wholesome goodness and the unnecessary fragrances, alcohol and toxins in the other product bothered her!

Another girlfriend (a stay at home Mom) has eczema and her skin cleared up after using Drenched for just a week! Her doctor prescribed her a steroid cream that she only used at night since she didn’t want to use it around her children so she started using our body butter instead.

I even got my parents on the organic bandwagon.

Tell us about Organic Bath. What inspired you to create an organic body care line?

I was really inspired when I began breaking out in hives. I couldn’t figure out what it was from and I even blamed it on my boyfriend’s dog thinking that I was allergic. After some investigating I finally figured out they were coming from something in my beauty products.

I found it shocking that Europe has banned over 1,300 ingredients from skincare lines while the US has only banned 11. I realized that I would have to start being a conscious consumer and reading the ingredients on everything! After speaking with family & friends I realized that I wasn’t the only one who purchased things that were labeled natural, fresh, etc. and expected them to be.

Jay & I wanted to create a line that people could trust with ingredients that were understandable. I also wanted to create an organic line of products that would appeal to someone like me…someone who likes to treat themselves. With that in mind, we made a promise to only use the best, ethically sourced ingredients. There are no mystery “fragrances” in our line; all our products are only scented by certified organic essential oils. You can pronounce everything on the label. We wanted it to be clear that we stand behind every single ingredient that goes into our product.

What items are in your current product line? 

We have organic body washes in four different scents: Stress Less which is Lavender and Ylang ylang, Zesty Morning which is Grapefruit, Tangerine and Orange, RefreshMint which is peppermint and Naked which is fragrance free. We have Organic and Fair Trade sugar scrubs in the same scents, plus Java Jolt which is our delicious coffee sugar scrub. It smells like coffee and mint and is a great way to wake up in the morning. Plus it helps with cellulite!

We also have Drenched which is our 100% organic shea body butter infused with jojoba and argan oil. We have it in Zesty Morning and Stress Less too.

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What can consumers expect from Organic Bath in the future?

We will be releasing our line of body oils in the next few weeks which I’m really excited about. We are introducing a new lighter body butter for the summer time and we are also coming out with travel sizes for everything. It’s great for someone who likes variety or travels a lot and doesn’t want their skin/health to pay the price!

If you could offer one piece of advise to someone considering going organic what would it be?

It would be make small changes and don’t beat yourself up. If you have made a small change that will benefit the health of you and your family, celebrate that and give yourself credit. I am still learning and finding green alternatives to my some of my favorite mainstream items. I’m always sharing my favorites on social media.

Is there anything else that you want Honey Lemon Tea readers to know about you or Organic Bath?

One of the main missions we had when we started Organic Bath was to build a business that would give back to our community and the planet that we live on. We have partnered with 1% for the Planet to help fund sustainable charities and the Global Soap Project which provides life saving sanitation to people in need around the globe.

Gianne, thank you both for agreeing to this interview and for creating such wonderful products!!

Ok friends, I think you now have some idea as to why I have fallen in love with this company and their products. These products have revived my bath time ritual and I encourage you all to give them a try.  I predict that they will become some of your favorites as well.

Best Wishes to Gianne (and Jay) of Organic Bath Company! :)

*This interview is also linked to Mingle Monday.

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Love Audiobooks?…Give These a Try!

I’ve made it pretty clear that I love reading, stacking books in storage and finding used books at thrift stores. What I haven’t mentioned is that I listen to audiobooks just as much (if not more than I read).  At all times I have at least one audiobook downloaded on my iPhone. I actually love that even when I’m super busy I can still get in a dose of a great book. You can catch me listening to books in the car, while I’m doing housework, at the gym or dosing off to sleep.  Just ask Johnny how often an earbud is dangling from my right ear.

There are some that belief in order to enjoy the written word you must do so by holding the book in hand and “reading”.  I’m honestly not a part of that club.  I am both a visual and auditory learner. So, I’m all for listening to a great narrator take me through a riveting story. With that said, the narrator is one of the most important components of an audiobook. He or she can hold you in anticipation of the next line in the book or put you to sleep before you understand what the story is all about.

Second to the narrator is the genre of the audiobook.  Personally, for stories that are very long, overly verbose or slow-moving I leave those to reading.  Some of these are great stories but do nothing to keep your ear engaged.  So, when listening to books I prefer to listen to mystery, thriller, suspense and fantasy genres. Occasionally, I also find audio gems in the historical fiction genre.

So, for those of you that love audiobooks or want to give them a try you might enjoy the titles bellow. These books have story lines that are action packed or so extraordinary that they are hard to tune out.

 

1. Private by James Patterson (Private Series)

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2.  Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins Series)

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3.  The Magicians by Lev Grossman

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4. One Second After by William R. Forstchen

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5.  The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

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6. Along Came a Spider by James Patterson (Alex Cross Series)

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7. Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran

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8. Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

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9. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

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10. The Diviners by Libba Bray

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(These photos are not my own and I do not take any credit for them.)

*** Money Saving Tip!!  I can’t end this post without letting you all know that I don’t actually buy audiobooks.  I use the Overdrive Media Console app which allows me to connect with my local library and download books from there.  Our library has a pretty extensive download library and allows us to check out up to five titles at a time for up to two weeks.  This applies to audiobooks and books that I read on my Kindle as well.

Please comment below if you have any great audiobook suggestions.  Also, share…like…and follow.

Happy Listening!

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