With or without a cabin in the woods, you can add rustic touches and natural accents to your holiday decor — just in time for Christmas. Welcome guests with a driftwood wreath or style handwoven bird nests for a warm setting. Better yet, with Dec. 25 quickly approaching, many of these items are on sale and can still make it onto your tablescape just in time for your holiday dinner. Click through, then cozy up to our favorite earthy decor (it's not too late!).
If you're into luxe mineral makeup and skin-friendly ingredients, you might want to put Kide on your radar. The line of baked foundations, concealers, and highlighters, is mica-based, and doesn't contain talc or bismuth oxychloride (the ingredient responsible for the itchiness that sometimes accompanies mineral makeup). Plus, the light reflectors and pigments aren't a bunch of filler metals and lake colors you've never heard of. It's just mica, iron oxide, tourmaline, copper, and diamond dust. The stuff is not cheap at $85 per item, but neither, thankfully, are the ingredients.
The only drawback we see with it is that, since it's a powder, it's not great for people with dry skin, especially if you live somewhere with cold weather that exacerbates the problem. Otherwise, the packaging is great, the products (especially the highlighters) are gorgeous, and the formulation is outstanding.
My first go-to gift for any new mother is always a plush, organic, baby blanket. Regardless of how many blankets she's already been gifted, another baby blanket can never go amiss. When a blanket is organic, the cotton used to make it is free from pesticides, so it is nontoxic and safe for your little one. What's great about all of these luxurious blankets is that they can be used to swaddle your baby, to keep your him warm in his crib, and to cover your lil one while running errands. Here are a few of my favorite organic blankets!
This time of the year marks long-awaited warmer temperatures, extended days, and the sweet smell of springtime. Now that Spring has finally arrived and we can kiss our cabin fever blues away, there's another fever we have to contend with — Spring fever!
Spring causes hormones to surge and our energy levels to burst from the seams, so why not add to the madness with a natural aphrodisiac — spices! We've already heard about the healing benefits associated with some spices like cardamom, but did you know that certain spices like ginseng and saffron are proven sexual performance boosters? According to a new scientific review from Canada's University of Guelph, these spices can act as natural aphrodisiacs and increase sexual arousal. Saffron risotto, anyone?
Looking for a plant-based alternative to petroleum jelly? Enter Waxelene ($6 for 2 oz.), which touts itself as just that.
Waxelene is made in San Francisco, using natural, organic, and sustainable ingredients and even comes in a recyclable glass jar with a metal lid. It contains organic rosemary and soybean oils, natural beeswax, and Vitamin E oil, which all help to protect and soften, as well as lock in moisture and regenerate cracked and broken skin. I was more than impressed by its thick, non-greasy consistency, and have been applying it everywhere I normally put petroleum jelly (my lips, eyelashes, under-eye area, feet, etc.), as well as using it to tame flyaways and moisturize my cuticles.
My verdict: it's pretty amazing. Not only are the ingredients top-notch, but it delivers the same great results as petroleum jelly. I love how it goes on; it's clear, with subtle exfoliating granules that dissolve as you rub them in. I also find that it stays put on my lips far longer than petroleum jelly did. So far, I have no formal complaints, and it has officially replaced petroleum jelly in my medicine cabinet and my life.
Airplanes may get you from A to B, but they also transport something else — billions of germs. It may be part psychological, but every time I step onto an airplane, I feel like my immune system goes into overdrive and my body knows it's fight or flight time, literally! I'm not completely overreacting, because according to WebMD, you are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a plane than you are in your normal day-to-day life. To keep a nice protective barrier between you and this germ-friendly breeding ground, here are some of my favorite defense mechanisms.
Ever since Good Hair premiered at the end of last year, there's been much more open and positive dialogue about respecting and loving your natural hair texture. Lots of women were already going natural, but making the changeover has really gathered steam with the advent of the keratin controversy and a concomitant wave of support for natural hair's beauty, culminating in Sesame Street's adorable "I Love My Hair" song. While it seems that the number of women going natural, combined with the recession's ill effects, may be putting some African-American salons out of business, it's also heartening to see so many people embracing and celebrating the beautiful hair they were born with instead of trying to fit a narrow normative standard. Hair is still a hot-button issue for many women, regardless of their texture, but hopefully this is a signal of more self-acceptance to come.
When I went natural, I tried all manner of edible beauty recipes, but recently The Today Show offered up even more options. To Hoda and Kathie Lee's amusement, lifestyle writer Lauren Sydney set about rubbing volunteers' lips with beets to create a "lip stain" look, put egg whites under eyes for lift, and even filled stockings with couscous for "breast enhancers." I don't usually have raw beets sitting around in my kitchen, so I don't know that this would ever be a convenient beauty fix for me, but if you do, would you consider trying it before a night out?
Ah, college — those sweet, sweet days of living under a pile of dubiously "clean" clothing and letting stuff stay in the fridge until it deliquesced. With those fond educational memories in mind, if you've got an endearingly messy high schooler on your graduation gift list this year, may we suggest Stinky Dorm ($34), a kit full of all-natural odor neutralizers? It comes with two jars that suck stench from the air, as well as a spot spray for any particularly gross patches a bright young scholar might encounter.
It may be less exciting than an iPod Shuffle, but it'll probably wind up being a whole lot more useful. By the end of first semester, most students are grateful for a care package full of new socks and Febreze, and there's no doubt your gift will go to good use and be well appreciated. Plus, it's all natural, so even the greenest freshman will be happy to use it to get the funk out.
I'm a big proponent of going natural when you can, but confused by the term "hippie" when it gets thrown around to talk about ecologically conscious products. There are instances where it can be funny, like this cute Stinky Hippie Body Wash ($13.50), whose illustrated "hippie" girl with fragrant underarm is meant to be amusing. However, a lot of times when people use the term it's pejorative, and suggestive of being not as clean or as well groomed as other people. This is despite the fact that most who use natural products actually take great care with their appearances.
I think being an actual hippie in the late 1960s could have been pretty cool, but I don't know about the term now, especially when it comes to cosmetics and personal care. What do you think? Is it rude to call someone a "hippie" just because they like eco-beauty, or is it just one of those terms that's connected to the green movement and unlikely to go away?