Summer Salad Series on Organic Bath: Sweet Fruit Salad

saladfruit

You all know that I’ve shared some of my favorite salads on my Summer Salad Series.  I thought that I would spread the love over on the Organic Bath Company blog.  For this month’s post I wrote about my long time love of fruit salads and why they are great for my skin.

Fresh organic fruit is a staple in our household.  My husband and I eat fruit any time of day: for meals, snacks or dessert.  Our mornings start with a 6:30 AM workout followed by a fruit salad on a bed of fresh baby spinach.  The picture above actually features the salad we had earlier this week…absolutely tasty.  Aside from the amazing taste of this salad, it’s also great for my health.  Particularly, as I get older I try to focus more on nourishing my skin from the inside out.  I appreciate that inner glow that healthy skin gives off, don’t you?

To find out more about why my skin loves this salad and how it’s prepared head on over to the Organic Bath blog.

Have a great weekend!

Vee-Signature

A Total Manicure Detox with Organic Scrubs & Natural Nail Polishes

Who doesn’t love a perfect manicure or pedicure? I do!  In the past I was a regular at salons, and while the salon experience was enjoyable, the negative health implications were many.  So, during my transition to safe cosmetics, I focused more on DIY manicures and pedicures, beginning with a cleaning spree.  I literally trashed a mound of nail polishes that were laden with toxic ingredients.  Since making these changes, I rely on safer methods for achieving nails that look classic and polished(pun intended). :)

Thanks to the generosity of  Shop Conscious Beauty  I had the opportunity to try some other amazing  products that make for a lovely toxin-free manicure or pedicure.   If you are new to this company, Shop Conscious Beauty is an online destination for carefully curated personal care products that promote health-conscious living.

All of the products below are  great for use at home or the salon, especially if you are unsure of whether or not your nail technician uses non-toxic products. If you are going to a salon advise your nail technician to avoid the use of alcohol, cuticle creams or lotions. You can bring all of your products with you.  Never be afraid to advocate for your health!

Now, let’s get right into my DIY manicure…

 

RefreshMINT Organic Body Scrub 

RefreshMint-Scrub_large

 

Readers, you all know that I’m a big fan of products by Organic Bath Co.  So, I was excited to receive their RefreshMINT Organic Body Scrub.   This scrub is the perfect start to a total manicure detox.   Some of you may be accustomed to scrubs with micro beads.  Rest assured that you will not find any of those harmful plastic bits here.  This scrub uses certified organic Fair Trade sugar to exfoliate those dead skin cells away while peppermint essential oil leaves your skin feeling completely refreshed.  For my nail prep I buffed, shaped and massaged my cuticles with jojoba oil before washing my hands and exfoliating with RefreshMINT.   My hands were left smooth, soft to the touch and ready for the next phase of my manicure.

 

Scotch Naturals Detox Pack

detoxpack

The second part of my DIY manicure was all about the Scotch Naturals Detox Pack. As a green beauty lover I was aware of Scotch Naturals, however this pack was my first introduction to the brand.  Scotch Naturals is a water-based non-toxic nail polish.  The polish colors aren’t only aesthetically pleasing but they nourish the nail. The folks at Scotch take health seriously and these polishes are beyond “3-free” or even “5-free”.  These beautiful colors are created without the use of: phthalates, parabens, solvents (ethyl acetate and butyl acetate), nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals. Quite clean, right?

Given that this was my first experience with a water-based formula I wanted to follow the steps provided on the informational card included in the detox packet.  As you can see this detox pack comes with a Fortifying Base Coat, color polish and Deluxe Top Coat.  I also have some other color polishes and the Scotch Natural’s soy-based polish remover as well.

 

polish process

 

I applied one coat of the Fortifying Base Coat and noticed that it does leave a sticky foundation on your nails which makes applying the nail color so easy.  After the base I polished my nails with two coats of the color, ‘Kiltlifter’ which is a gorgeous classic red.  It adhered to my nails with no fuss and went on in a few strokes.  Lastly, I followed with one coat of the Deluxe Top Coat to complete the look.

What are my thoughts on this Scotch Naturals Detox Packet?  I absolutely love that this polish doesn’t give offer that offensive “nail polish scent”.  My cocker spaniel appreciates that as well (Harley avoids me when I’m polishing my nails).  I also appreciate how easy this polish applies and how true the color is to the hue that appears in the bottle.  As for the finish….well, I think the shine in the picture speaks for itself. I will definitely continue to use polishes from this line.

Whether you prefer to DIY or take your polishes to the salon, consider trying these natural alternatives.  For more information about how to get your hands on these products be sure to head on over to Shop Conscious Beauty.  You will be able to pick up the RefreshMINT Organic Body Scrub and the Scotch Naturals Detox Pack  as a part of their special “No More Dirty Looks” promotion.  This promotion starts  August 15th and you don’t want to miss out.

If you have any experiences with these products or other safe manicure alternatives please comment below.

Take Care!

*Disclosure:  The products above were provided by Shop Conscious Beauty for my consideration.  I did not receive any compensation for this review.  As always, all thoughts and comments represent my honest opinion.  The RefreshMINT picture is courtesy of http://www.organicbath.co.

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The Not So Normal 5K + Weekend and A Frankie Ballard Concert Giveaway!

NSN5K_PostCard_0709 (1)

 

I have an appreciation for all of the local areas that influenced my growth and development.  I still live near one of those areas and it holds a special place in my heart.  My college years were spent nestled in the, small in size but large in heart, Carrboro/Chapel Hill area of N.C.  My family and friends cherish the time we spent there and always appreciated those moments when we gathered in our favorite local eateries to root for the home team (TAR-HEELS!).  This area was good to me and I love opportunities to return the favor.  So, it’s my pleasure to invite you to an inaugural weekend of events to benefit local nonprofits entitled: The Not So Normal 5K + Weekend!

EVENT DETAILS

The Not So Normal 5K + Weekend, is a three-day event (September 12-14), presented by the blog Mom in Chapel Hill.  This event celebrates community and with a little music and exercise thrown in!  “Why isn’t it a normal 5K?”, you ask.  Great question!  I’m sure the idea of having a 5K to raise money for some great causes is not new to many of you.  However, I bet that you haven’t seen one quite like this one.  The organizers of this event have elected to donate the proceeds of the race equally to The ArtsCenter and the N.C.Children’s Hospital.  However, if you have a nonprofit organization that tugs at your heart-strings, the organizers have also given participants great flexibility in how they want to get involved. You are allowed to form your own team and select a nonprofit organization of your choice to support. Most importantly, 100% of the money your team raises will go directly to that organization.

What else is so special about this event? Well, beyond the 5K itself, this is a weekend is chock full of activities for the entire family to enjoy.  A complete list of events is as follows:

Friday and Saturday Night (Sept. 12 and 13):  Kids’ parties each night, babysitting options, restaurant specials, comedy shows, outdoor movie and a Carrboro Art Walk, “Meet the Merchants.”

Sunday Morning (Sept. 14):

  • The Not So Normal 5K race…well, not quite 5K. We shortened to 2.95 miles to make it flatter and a little easier. Why? Because it’s not so normal! Active families will run or walk this fun run, and strollers are welcome on the course. Registration is just $25 and all proceeds go directly to charity. Participants are also asked to bring one book for Book Harvest and/or two canned goods for local food distribution organizations, TABLE and PORCH.
  • Kids’ races, obstacles, face painting and tons of family-fun activities. Children 8 and under are free!
  • Sunday Night (Sept. 14): Frankie Ballard Live Presented by 94.7 QDR and The Not So Normal 5K + Weekend. Hosted at University Mall in Chapel Hill, the outdoor concert will feature rising country music star Frankie Ballard, and opening acts Casey Jamerson, Stereosparks and The BuzzTown Band, and DSI Comedy Theater getting the crowd ready to rock. The concert benefits The ArtsCenterNC Children’s Promise and Kidzu Children’s Museum. Tickets are $9.47 and can be purchased online here.

Obviously, this event is anything but “normal”.  In fact, I would call it extraordinary and I encourage you to come out, have fun and give back to some worthy nonprofit organizations.  For the Carrboro/Chapel Hill area of N.C. September 12-14 will be a weekend of fun, family, community and philanthropy!

P.S. As an added bonus, take $5 off race registration when you use the coupon code BLOGGER14! The coupon code expires Aug. 15, so go ahead and register! Be sure to put the name of my blog in the referral box when you sign up.

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

The generous sponsors of this event have given me two tickets for the outdoor concert  to be held on Sunday Night (Sept. 14).  One of my lucky readers will have a chance to win this pair of tickets to the closing concert hosted by 94.7 QDQ and starring country music hearthrob Frankie Ballard!

Rules: 

Plead read all of the conditions below before entering the giveaway.  To enter you must send an email to hltgiveaways@gmail.com and answer the following question:  “What is your favorite charitable organization and why?”

You must enter by Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 11:59(EST).  This giveaway is open to legal residents (18 years of age and older) of the US only. Only one entry is allowed per person. A winner will be randomly chosen on Friday, August 22, 2014 and be contacted by me directly via email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.  I have represented the sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner.  The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. To receive the concert tickets the winner will have to provide their full name, mailing address and email address to myself and the event sponsors. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

 

Good luck!

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Tea of the Month: July 2014

La Menthe Glaciale Thé by Palais Des Thé

La Menthe Glaciale Thé by Palais Des Thé

 

This was a fantastic month (dare I say summer) for tea. At the end of June I found this tea while we were out of town. Although I am a fan of mint teas in general this one was really an impulse buy.  I’m not usually an impulse buyer but I figured I couldn’t go to wrong with tea. Oh man, I was right! I couldn’t have predicted how much I would love this La Menthe Glaciale Thé by the brand Palais Des Thé.

As the name suggests, this is a frosted mint green tea. Before I get into the taste, let’s talk about the aroma. When you open the canister and sniff, it’s like a cool breath of fresh air. No kidding. It makes me feel like I am in a York Peppermint Patty commercial. The smell is so cool and refreshing. On to the taste…the green tea base is earthy without any hint of bitterness. It’s a quality leaf but the mint is the shining star. It carries this blend adding a delicious fresh and peppery aroma.

Overall, the  flavor is absolutely invigorating, especial during our hot and humid summers.  It just opens my senses and gives me a welcomed respite from a busy day. You could brew this tea and drink warm or serve it cold. Either way, this tea was hands-down my favorite for the month of July, and a strong contender for my favorite of the year, thus far.

If you are interested I purchased this tea from Dean & Deluca but the company has a website as well.   If you try it please let me know your thoughts in the comments or tell me your favorite summer tea.

Cheers!

Vee-Signature

 

 

 

One Love Organics Rose Aromatic Body Serum Review

 

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Product Description:   According to One Love Organics,  the Rose Aromatic Body Serum provides a mist of precious oils that intensely moisturize the skin, leaving it refreshed, beautifully scented, and soft to the touch. Unlike most water-based lotions it has 100% active formulas for a more potent, longer lasting moisture solution.

Ingredients:   capric/caprylic triglyceride, sambucus nigra fruit extract (elderberry) extract, supercritical hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oil*, cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil*, proprietary natural & organic fragrance compounds, calendula officinalis (calendula flower) extract*, hypericum perforatum (st. john’s wort) extract*, aspalathus linearis (red rooibos tea) extract*

*indicates organic ingredient

Usage:  After showing, while my skin is still damp, I generously apply this serum.  I apply it all over as I would with a traditional lotion.

My Thoughts:  I was given this product by a friend and thought that I would share my experiences with my readers. This product is light and has the perfect weight for use during summer months when you don’t want to be slathered in thick creams.  It also uses plant-derived ingredients that are safe for the body.  Most notably, this serum has a lovely formulation that isn’t greasy and easily glides over the skin for a softening effect.

What about moisture? This serum does have some beneficial moisturizing properties but unfortunately it isn’t quite moisturizing enough for me.  I have drier skin, even in our humid southern summers, so I need more moisture than this product offers. It serves as a good base but I have to follow-up with another moisturizer to give my skin the feeling of comfort that I desire.

I was also overwhelmed by the rose aroma.  I appreciate that it offered a natural rose fragrance but I realize that I am not really fond of  the scent of roses.  If I purchased this product I would probably opt for one of their other fragrance profiles (lavender, neroli or chamomile).

Who is this product for?   This product is probably best suited for the warm months or on those occasions when you don’t want to use heavy creams and lotions.  It would be great for someone who wants moisture and doesn’t suffer from extremely dry skin. For all of my  rose-scented product lovers, you will be in aromatic bliss!  Even if roses don’t appeal to you this product may still be a “go”, since other aromas are available as well.

Price:  $39.00

Size:  3 fl. oz.

Need more info?  For more information about this product and others from One Love Organics you may visit Amazon  or the company website. 

 

*Disclosure:  This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.  As always, all comments represent my honest opinion.

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Summer Salad Series: Spinach, Strawberry & Cucumber

summersalad3I’m not sure where you are in the world but it’s hot and humid where I am.  So, salads are the ticket to a light meal that’s also easy to prepare.  Today, I’m sharing the second salad in my Summer Salad Series: Spinach, Strawberry & Cucumber.  If you missed my first salad you can check it out here.

There really isn’t any magic to this one but it’s very good.  I just had some adjustments on my braces so you will notice that I’m slicing everything really thin.  Unfortunately, that’s the only way I can manage. I simply layered organic spinach, thinly sliced organic cucumbers and strawberries, followed by a sprinkle of sliced almonds on top.  Then, I finished it by drizzling on a simple vinaigrette.  The recipe is as follows:

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon tupelo honey (or any honey that you have)

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

This is a simple salad that’s great alone or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken breasts.  If you have a favorite summer salad please share your recipe below in the comments.

Stay cool!

Vee-Signature

 

Day 7: Experiment, Evaluate & Inspire

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After six days of our safe cosmetics journey we have come to Day 7. Day 7 is all about experimentation, evaluation and inspiration!  Today, I’m sharing the last few tips of this series but make no mistake, our journey is not over.  I will continue to share safe cosmetics/skin care tips, product reviews and company profiles.  I even have some DIY posts that I think you all will appreciate.  So, we are just getting started.

If you’ve been here through this process, we have covered six days in our collective journey.  For those of you that missed them they were:

Day 1: “The Story of Cosmetics”

Day  2: Cosmetic Products and Exposure Potential

Day 3:  Caution! What’s Lurking in Your Skin Care/Beauty Items?

Day 4:  Green Beauty Product Research Databases

Day 5:  Green Beauty Books…Learning in Progress

Day 6:  Questions to Ask When Prioritizing Your Safe Cosmetics Journey

Now, on to the topic of experimentation.  The great thing about a health and lifestyle journey is that you are continually learning.  In truth, there isn’t a destination just constant growth.  After setting your priorities, you will begin to try new products that align with your personal needs, lifestyle and budget.  Some of them you will like, others won’t meet your standards, which is just fine.  They can’t all be winners.  However, once you find a product that replaces one of your toxic favorites, add it as a staple.  Then, move on to the next item on your priorities list.  Over time (and it does take time) you will begin to slowly find new staples to replace the items currently in your beauty stash and cosmetics closet.

Once you have found all of these replacements you will be finished with your journey.  WRONG!  This is where evaluation(and reevaluation) comes into play.  Your skin, body, life, etc., will continue to change which means that some of your staples may no longer address your needs.  For example, until the age of 30 I had completely normal skin, no issues with acne or any other real concerns.  Now that I’m in my mid-30’s I have combination skin and occasionally hormonal acne and fine lines.  Similarly, your body chemistry may change.  A deodorant that works wonders today may not do the job in five years.  So, continue to evaluate your concerns and the effectiveness of even safe cosmetics/skin care items that you have on hand. Then, make changes as the need arises.

Last, but not least, we have to think look beyond ourselves and serve as an inspiration others.  I love learning but what I love more than learning is sharing with others.  I am a teacher by nature.  Every career path or volunteer opportunity that I have taken has involved counseling, advocating or instructing others on one topic or another.  I bring that same passion and desire to help others into this blog.  My heart’s desire for everything I write is that my family and yours become more whole and well.  So, as I learn and grow in my healthy skin care/cosmetics journey I want to share it with all of you, those in both my physical and virtual circle of influence.

I challenge all of you to share your journey with others as well.   Help your families and friends make safer choices by leading by example.  I’m not saying preach to them or stand in judgment of their skin care/cosmetics decisions.  If you model healthy behavior your actions will speak for themselves.  Then, when prompted be enthusiastic about sharing that nontoxic lipstick color or yummy-smelling organic body butter brand.  In my experience, people will ask questions about your choices and open the door for you to inspire them to think about their skin from a whole new perceptive.

There you have it friends, Day 7.  Thanks to all of you that have liked, commented or shared information from this series. If you enjoyed this series there is much more to come.  Until then, stay safe and be well!

Vee-Signature

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