Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday's Tip: Say No Thanks to Parabens

Today's tip is in no way meant to be preachy. It's something I've been more aware of these past few years, and I'd like to share what I know with all of my readers.

You may have heard of or read about an ingredient called (methyl-, ethyl, propyl-, butyl-, isobutyl) Parabens. Parabens are chemicals used as a preservative mainly in cosmetic products, lotions, shampoos, hairstyling products and toothpastes, to extend the shelf-life of these products.

Parabens are known to mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known as a contributing factor in the development of breast cancers. According to: howstuffworks.com,

     "...the paraben molecule fits into the estrogen receptor and other glands and neurotransmitters begin passing messages and making adjustments based on the presence of that 'estrogen.' Some researchers worry that Parabens could affect estrogen production or other aspects of the endocrine system." 

The FDA claims that Parabens are safe in small dosages. There have been many studies on both sides of this argument. My take on it is if there is the slightest chance of something affecting our bodies natural rhythm and flow, why not take the safe route and avoid this ingredient altogether?

Here are a few of my personal favorite Paraben-free products.

Tom's toothpaste is a great alternative to the brand name pastes. The flavor may be a little strange at first but it takes only a few days to get used to. If you use Tom's consistently for a few weeks and then try the brand name paste for a day, you will notice how much sweeter the brand name version tastes. It made me appreciate switching to Tom's even more.

I absolutely LOVE Avalon Organics facial cleanser as well as Alima Pure mineral make-up. I have to credit my good friend Sara for introducing me to these products. Thanks Sara! The best part of Avalon Organics cleanser (other than being paraben-free) is that it is so effective at cleaning make-up off without having to apply any make-up removers to your face beforehand. In just one cleansing, your face is fresh and clean! It also smells great.

For a long time, I thought Bare Minerals contained nothing but pure minerals as their ingredients. After reading all the fine print, I came to find that I was mistaken. Alima Pure on the other hand, is PURE mineral make-up. They are an online company based out of Portland, Oregon. I was a little hesitant at first to place an order for make-up online without testing it against my skin, but they have a great method in ordering and I thought it was worth a shot. You can purchase samples for $1.50 before you purchase the real product, that way you can try it out for a few days and find the right color for your skin tone. A nice perk is that you get points every time you purchase an item. When you acquire a modest amount of points you get $5 or $10 off of your next purchase. They also send you free eyeshadow, lipstick and foundation samples with your purchase! 

See you next Tuesday for another useful tip!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday's Featured Artist- Amy Atlas

I can easily say that today's featured artist is my design hero - the one and only Amy Atlas.  She specializes in distinct dessert tables for weddings, birthdays and special events. She is my design hero because of the mere fact that she combines two of my favorite "D" words, Dessert and Decor. Her displays are aesthetically pleasing, thought out and one-of-a-kind. They fill the room with nostalgia, warmth and color. I'm sure her events are the talk of the town for months on end. If only I could be so fortunate to use her services, I'd do my wedding all over again.

Here are some of my favorite displays. Which one is your favorite?

*photo credit- amyatlas.com

Wow! Don't you feel like you just took a ride through a colorful tunnel full of swirling beauty? I do. If you want to learn a little bit more about her design process, watch this short video and see how it all comes together. Be sure to check back next Friday to see who is next! Have a "sweet" weekend!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Every Food has Its Season

Do you ever notice when you go to the market for your produce, nine times out of ten you will find any and every fruit and veggie imaginable? How about that sometimes strawberries can be more expensive than a decent bottle of wine? 

Well, that's because most markets are providing us with fruits and vegetables that are not in season. The reason for the high prices is because those off season fruits and veggies are brought to you from long distances, often traveling 1500-2500 miles sometimes. You may wonder, doesn't the produce spoil after such a long haul? Actually, no because the fruits and veggies are picked while immature so that they last the long voyage. This results in vitamin and nutrient loss. To avoid it, always buy produce that is in season. The more you shop for produce in season, the more you get to enjoy the taste and quality of your strawberries and the more money you save.

* photo credit- Pinch my salt

Awareness is key when shopping so I'd like to share a list of fruits and veggies that are in season in the spring so you get the most out of your purchase.

Spring Fruits:                      
  • Apricots                          
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Oranges
Spring Veggies:
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Spinach
  • Snow Peas
  • Onions
Along with buying produce in season, it's important to buy certain produce always in organic form. I know this can be hard to commit to because it can be hard on the pocket book, but you are worth it! If you can avoid consuming pesticides along with your food, the health benefits can be high. According to Mens Health Magazine, here are 12 foods you should ALWAYS buy organic.
  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes
  11. Carrots
  12. Pears
Phew! I know it's overwhelming. Try to start out slow and pick 3 things off the list that you eat most and gradually add on.

On the flip side, here are 12 foods that are relatively pesticide-free.
  1. Onions
  2. Avocados
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mangoes
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwis
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplants
  11. Papayas
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Sweet Potatoes
  15. Tomatoes
I hope that this helps to inspire you to pick wisely when shopping for your produce. Sometimes it's hard to change things that just seem routine and easy, but your healthy choices can impact the environment and your health in a positive way! Happy shopping :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's Easy Being Green

Can you feel it? Spring is in the air! The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and the sun is shining. St. Patrick's Day couldn't come at a better time. I remember as a kid I'd love to search for that lucky four leaf clover in patches of grass. St. Patrick's Day has always been a fun day for me, picking that perfect piece of attire to prevent yourself from being pinched. Seeing that green is my favorite color, I've never had an issue finding something in my closet for the occasion. 

*photo credit- Anthropologie & Zoya

Here are some of my favorite picks from Anthropologie if you are looking for that perfect touch of green. I feel that less is more when choosing that special piece for St. Patty's Day. You can do it in a stylish way with just a splash of color that gives your outfit that extra "kick".  Zoya has some beautiful shades of green nail polish which is a great way to stay in the game without being too in-your-face. 

So have fun with it. It's a great way to put a "spring" in your step!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday's Featured Artist- Lara Cameron

Since my new found love for Textile/Surface design has entered my life, I've been searching for such designers whose work I absolutely love and admire. One designer that fits the bill is none other than Lara Cameron. I just love her nature inspired textile designs that look simple yet so stylized. Her pieces have an organic and flowing essence to them. Couldn't you see these patterns on pillow cases for your couch?

ginkgo pattern
riverstones dots
*photo credit-laracameron.com

Her creativity doesn't stop here, she also designs stationary, identity piecespromotional pieces, but one of her most recent ventures is wall stickers. Her designs are now available to embellish your home with at The Wall Sticker Company. A big plus is that they are carbon neutral! Here are a few that I love.
*photo credit- The Wall Sticker Company

Hope this has inspired you to do a little decorating via Lara Cameron! Have a fabulous weekend and see you next Friday for another Featured Artist.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pink Parlour Festival

I've always admired people who are crafty and creative and who can just whip up something useful out of practically nothing at all. How do they go from point A to point Z in seemingly less than 10 seconds?
That's pure talent!

Pink Parlour Festival is the type of event which exhibits such talent. It's unique festival that gives women of all ages a chance to share their handmade creations and art, at affordable prices. What better way to feel like a part of a creative community and support talented women.

There is also live entertainment including female fronted bands and djs.
Not to mention a Daisy Rock Guitar Give-a-way.

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, arts, crafts, music and the best part, the Pink Parlour Fashion Show. This fashion show is an opportunity for fashion designers with a big or small label to feature 3 to 5 complete outfits on The Catwalk. There are all sorts of goodies for the winners as well as those who attend the festival.

Mark your calendars, March 14th, 2009 and buy tickets here

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Leidy

It was fantastic having my Tropicana Owl Pin featured in The Leidy's "I Heart Tuesday" blog post.  I love the grouping of items she chose to fit this tropics theme. Oranges, yellows and pinks are such vibrant and happy colors you could almost smell it!

Check out her blog sometime as well as trinket box which includes dainty and whimsical handmade pieces by The Leidy herself.


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