3 Ways To Relieve Stress with Flowers

This post comes to us from Emily at The Bouqs Company.  We love The Bouqs Co. for their eco-friendly, sustainable farming practices, support of boutique artisan florists, and gorgeous, unfussy arrangements.

3 Ways To Relieve Stress with Flowers | The Organic Beauty BlogIf I told you that you could relieve stress by simply placing some fresh flowers or plants within your surroundings, would you believe me? A few sunflowers or daffodils arranged in a mason jar on your bedside or in your office will leave you feeling more optimistic and motivated to tackle the day’s challenges. We feel this way because we associate the color yellow with the sun’s rays, which naturally helps us feel happier. In fact, “flower power,” as Chinese healers have referred to it, gives us the ability to control the flower’s emotions and the secret is held within the flower’s color. It’s not just bright yellow sunflowers that improve our mood, all kinds of flowers and their colors can provide positive health benefits.

Here are a few ways to add more stress relieving flowers and plants into your daily lifestyle:

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Why I’m Embracing Minimalism This Holiday Season.. And Beyond

Embracing Minimalism This Holiday Season  |  The Organic Beauty BlogAnyone who knows me know that, at my core, I am anything but a minimalist.  Historically, I keep everything —  I have clothes, jewelry, notebooks, diaries, and trinkets dating as far back as elementary school.  I love stuff — I have stockpiles of unopened journals, stacks of books I’ve never read, and storage boxes full of trinkets, decorative items and pillow covers for seasonally swapping out.  I love to shop, I love presents, I love information, and I love options.  Needless to say, embracing minimalism does not come naturally to me.

But as I’ve gotten older (or, shall we say, more mature), and more tuned deeper into the wants and needs of my soul, I’ve begun to realize that not only does more stuff not lead to more happiness, but quite to the contrary, it leads to more anxiety, more distraction, and more physical and mental clutter.

Those of us with kids know that parenthood only exacerbates this phenomena.  Having children seems to mean an endless accumulation of clutter — physical, mental, emotional. I felt this keenly shortly after little M was born, and I slowly began the process of KonMari-ing my life (for the uninitiated, that is the Japanese art of decluttering your life and paring down your possessions to simply things that bring you joy.. It’s the best thing ever.  Even GOOP says so).  I’ve donated and sold mountains of clothes, books and jewelry that didn’t bring me joy; I’ve thrown away stacks of old papers and notebooks; I’ve allowed my (super minimalist) husband to throw away long-kept household items that were broken, old, or otherwise no longer useful.  It has felt great.  Liberating.  Clarifying.

But then the holidays roll around.  Between the shopping, wish list creating, decorating, cooking, and celebrating, it’s so easy to forget why less stuff equals more happiness, more calm, and a happier family.  So I am pausing my perusal of 12 Days of Deals on Amazon to remind myself (and hopefully inspire one or two of you!) of why I’m embracing minimalism, especially at this time of year.

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Best Baby-Safe Cleaning Products (plus what to avoid!)

Baby-Safe Cleaning | The Organic Beauty Blog

With all the research that’s come out in the last several years into environmental toxins and endocrine disruptors, a whole slew of common baby and household products have been labeled with major red flags.  We know so much more now that we did 20 or 30 years ago — I shudder to think about the products that were used on and around us when we were babies!

Most of us know the big bad ingredients to avoid by now: parabens, phthalates, bleach, sodium lauryl sulfate (if you don’t know about these, read this) — but so much more awful stuff in lurking in the products some of us use every day, from soaps and detergents, to air fresheners, cleaning supplies, and even candles.  And of course, don’t even get me started on edibles — especially so much of the foods marketed to babies and kids… I’ll save that for it’s own post ; )

Guys, this is something I am really passionate about, and I’ll admit, I get really upset when I see a mom slathering her baby in Johnson & Johnson’s or buying Tide detergent.  There are so many inexpensive, safer brands out there that make it so easy for most families to make these changes.  With all the dangerous stuff out there that our babies will at some point be exposed to, this is something that is totally, 100% in our control as mindful parents and caregivers.  We love our babies so much… why would we ever consciously expose them to chemicals that can cause hormonal imbalances, inflammation, growth problems, allergies and asthma, and even cancer down the line??

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5 Ways to Use Lavender Essential Oil for a Happy Baby

Bali Lavender Essential Oil of BabyI have long since been a huge fan of using lavender essential oil to ease stress and anxiety, but honestly had no idea how versatile a tool it was in the home until little Margaux was born. Since becoming a mama, I have gotten rid of so many household items that could be harmful to my precious little bundle — toxic cleaning supplies (even ones masquerading as natural), dryer sheets, perfumes, air fresheners.. the list goes on and on.  I started researching natural replacements for all these things I wasn’t sure I could live without, and was really surprised to see lavender pop up everywhere.  Lavender essential oil was about so much more than better sleep and stress release!

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5 Tips for a Healthy Inspiring Workspace

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Healthy Inspiring Workspace

Since I launched my own business several years ago, I went through several iterations of what it looked like to work from home.  In our little Brooklyn apartment, we didn’t have space for a proper desk, so I typically worked on the couch (not recommended), or at the dining room table (only slightly better). When we moved to our lovely new home in Santa Monica, I finally had a little corner dedicated entirely to my work, and I set about creating the workspace I had been wishing for.  What I found astounded me — a dedicated, healthy, and mindfully created workspace made me more productive, happier, and less stressed out during my work day! I actually looked forward to my work and settling down at my little desk.  The difference was mind-boggling.

So whether you work from home like me, have a traditional out-of-home office, or hunker down at a shared co-working space, there are definitely some important steps to take to make your work, in whatever form it takes, a more enjoyable experience.  After much trial and error and, of course, those failed attempts in Brooklyn, I’ve narrowed down these 5 key elements to creating a healthy, inspiring workspace aligned with how you want to feel throughout your day.

 

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Blissed Out Beauty Products from Purity Apothecary!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

In my daily quest of being more mindful, more at ease, and more happy, I get super pumped when the products I use are aligned with my mission.  I want every single thing that I put on my skin or body, into my mouth, and around me in my space to feel luxurious, smell amazing, and be sourced in a way I can feel good about.

So you can imagine how pumped I was to discover Purity Apothecary, a beautiful line of organic skincare products that are infused with therapeutic essential oils, powerful herbal ingredients, and delicious botanicals.  This stuff is good enough to eat!

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Make Your Own Almond Milk in 2 Minutes Flat!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

In my perpetual quest to for the cleanest, most natural eating and lifestyle, I’m always looking for the next step to take to go even further, even healthier, even deeper.  I went dairy-free several years ago, and haven’t really missed it.  Organic almond milk and coconut milk are daily staples in our house, and I can’t even imagine ever drinking real milk again!

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Best Organic Beauty Products of 2012

It’s that time of year again!  We are so lucky to have been able to try some of the best in organic and natural beauty and self-care products, and we’re thrilled to present the Organic Beauty Talk Best in Green 2012 Award Winners, featuring so many of our favorite brands.  A lot of these products and brands are featured in our ebook, Four Steps to Naturalizing Your Life, which you can download for free by signing up for our newsletter!

Using healthy, natural products for your skin, hair, body, and home is just as important as what you eat and how often you work out.  And by using the products below, you don’t have to sacrifice effectiveness or ease of use!

Have a favorite from the list below?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Face

  • Best Natural Facial Line for Problem Skin – S.W. Basics (formerly Sprout Skincare, $24-$32)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Normal & Dry Skin – Grateful Body ($22-$36)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Sensitive Skin (can also be used on all skin types including blemish-prone) – Pai ($35-$55)
  • Best Holistic Facial Line for Normal & Dry Skin – Dr. Hauschka ($26.95-$89.95)
  • Best Organic Anti-Aging Facial Line – Intelligent Nutrients ($24-$55)
  • Best Organic Facial Line (including sensitive and blemish-prone skin) – Spiezia ($37.50-$85)
  • Best Natural Value Facial Line – Zum Face ($9.50-$24)
  • Best Up & Coming Natural Facial Lines – Sequoia Beauty ($24-$50) & Stark Skincare ($22-$48)
  • Best Natural Face Moisturizer – Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer ($100) & Izlla Fresh Sweet Carrot Facial Day Creme ($29.95)
  • Best Organic Facial Scrub – HollyBeth Organics Grits & Honey Scrub ($25)
  • Best Natural Facial Mask – La Bella Figura ($60)
  • Best Natural Face Serum – Lina Hanson Global Face Serum ($85)
  • Best Natural Eye Cream – 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($19) & Tata Harper Restorative Eye Treatment ($90)
  • Best Natural Facial Sunscreen – Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 30 ($22)

 

Makeup

  • Best Natural Mineral Makeup Line – Alima Pure ($11-$22)
  • Best Natural Liquid Foundation – Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation ($48)
  • Best Natural Luxury Makeup Line – Kjaer Weis ($44-$54)
  • Best Natural Tinted Moisturizer – 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer ($32)
  • Best Natural Bronzer – 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Bronzer ($25)
  • Best Natural Creme Blush – Youngblood Luminous Creme Blush ($27)
  • Best Natural Eyeliner – Lavera Soft Eyeliner ($14.50)
  • Best Natural Mascara – Josie Maran GoGo Instant Volume Argan Mascara ($22)
  • Best Natural Lip Color – 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze ($15) & Ilia Beauty ($24)
  • Best Organic Lip Gloss – Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Lip Delivery Antioxidant Gloss ($24)
  • Best Natural Lip Exfoliator – Ilia Beauty Balmy Nights ($24)
  • Best Natural Multi-Stick – Ilia Beauty ($34)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Makeup Brushes – EcoTools (6.99-$15.99)
  • Best Natural Makeup Remover – Desert Essence Jojoba Oil ($5.89)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Nail Polish – butter LONDON ($14) & Priti NYC ($13.50)

 

Body

  • Best Organic Body Bar Soap – Dr. Bronner’s Soap ($3.99)
  • Best Organic Luxury Body Bar Soap – Osmia Organics Handmade Bar Soap ($12)
  • Best Natural Body Wash – Patyka Absolis Body Wash ($45)
  • Best Natural Body Oil – Indie Lee Moisturizing Oil ($34)
  • Best Natural Body Lotion – HollyBeth Organics Geranium Jasmine Lavender Body Lotion ($37)
  • Best Natural Value Hand & Body Lotion – Jason Vanilla Hand & Body Lotion ($5.79)
  • Best Natural Body Butter – Moksa Organics Body Butter ($16)
  • Best Natural Body Scrub – Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Body Scrub ($42)
  • Best Natural Hand Soap – Avalon Organics Glycerin Liquid Hand Soap ($4.89)
  • Best Natural Hand Cream – Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream ($12.50)
  • Best Natural Value Body Care Line – Deep Steep ($6.95-$10.95)
  • Best Spa Private Label Line – St. Julien Spa
  • Best Natural Perfume – Tsi-La Organics ($38-$95)
  • Best Natural Solid Perfume – Ituri ($30)
  • Best Natural Deodorant Cream – Soapwalla Natural Deodorant Cream ($12)
  • Best Natural Deodorant Spray – Blissoma Natural Deodorant Spray ($10.99)
  • Best Natural Sunscreen – Soleil Organique ($18-$55)
  • Best Natural Cure-All – Pratima Healing Neem Oil ($29)
  • Best Natural Essential Oils – Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils ($1.75-$45)

 

Hair

  • Best Natural Shampoo & Conditioner – Acure Organics ($10)
  • Best Natural Hair Styling Products – Intelligent Nutrients ($12-29)
  • Best Natural Styling Products for Kinky, Curly & Wavy Hair (including color treated hair) – Shea Radiance ($16-$18)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Must-Have Product for Curly Hair – CURL-ease ($19.99)

 

Men

  • Best Natural Facial & Shave Line for Men – John Masters Organics Men ($22-$28) & Ursa Major ($24-$36)
  • Best Holistic Organic Line for Men – Dr. Alkaitis ($40-$80)
  • Best Ingrown Hair & Bump Preventer – SheaMoisture Tea Tree Herbal Bump Preventer ($9.99)
  • Best Natural Fragrance for Men – Tallulah Jane Yiska Natural Eau De Parfum Pour Homme ($48)

 

Children

  • Best Natural Lines for Children/Baby – Erbaviva ($10-$22) & Weleda ($7-$17)
  • Best Natural Line for Ethnically Diverse Children – Cara B Naturally ($8-$10)
  • Best Natural Sunscreen for Children/Baby – Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 15 ($22) & Alba Botanica Kids SPF 45 Sunblock ($5.16)

 

Fashion

  • Best Eco-Friendly Clothing Line for Men – Threads For Thought ($14-$268)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Basics for Women – Threads For Thought ($10-$48)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Fast Fashion Clothing Line – H&M Conscious Collection (prices vary)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Jeans – AG Denim ($148-$215)
  • Best Organic Work Dress – Elsa & Me ($240)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Casual Shoes – Toms ($44-$69)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Women’s Boots – Naya Shoes ($200-$265)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Underwear, Tees & Socks – PACT ($10-$30)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Jewelry – Kyler ($48-$138)

 

Home

  • Best Natural All-Purpose Cleaner (even cleans tough grime in bathtubs & can be used as a laundry detergent) – Savon Noir 100% Natural All-Purpose Olive Oil Soap ($20)
  • Best Natural Homecare Line – Seventh Generation ($3.99-$22)
  • Best Natural Aromatherapeutic Household Cleaning Line – Mrs. Meyers ($3.99-$15.99)
  • Best Natural Candles – Red Flower Petal Topped Candles ($34)
  • Best Natural Air Freshener – Intelligent Nutrients ($40-$68) & Neom Luxury Organic Room Mist ($26)
  • Best Natural Value Air Freshener – Pure Citrus Air Freshener ($4.97)
  • Best Natural Reed Diffuser – Neom Luxury Organic Reed Diffuser ($56)
  • Best Eco Savvy Paper Products – Ecojot ($4.75-$17)

Pet

  • Best Natural Pet Shampoo & Conditioner – John Masters Organics Lemongrass & Flaxseed Pet Shampoo and Conditioner ($20)
  • Best Natural Dog Spritzer & Deodorizer – Cloud Star Buddy Splash ($5.95)
  • Best Natural Dog Treats – Cloud Star Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits ($3.99)

How To Rid Your Home of Toxic Chemicals, For Good!

Guest post by Dustin Laurence.  Dustin enjoys maintaining a healthy and environmentally low-impact lifestyle; he is a contributing author at www.flowerdelivery.net
How To Rid Your Home of Toxic Chemicals, For Good! | The Organic Beauty BlogYour home is a safe haven that provides you and your family with a comfortable place to live. While you may think you are doing all you can to keep your home safe and clean, sometimes there are toxic chemicals in your house that you may not even know about. Toxic chemicals are nasty and can cause health conditions such as asthma and a variety of other illnesses, so you want to make sure your home doesn’t contain many of these harmful substances. If you are looking for ways to get rid of toxic chemicals in your home for good so to ensure the good health of your family, here are some ways you can do this.

1. Eliminate Toxic Cleaners. Although they may get rid of the grime around your house, many household cleaners contain harmful chemicals. If you want to eliminate toxic chemicals around your home, start by getting rid of these harsh cleaners. Instead, opt for all natural type household cleaners, or do a little research and make them yourself.

2. Stop Drinking Bottled Water. While you may think drinking bottled water is better for your health, the truth is it’s not. Plastic or aluminum bottles contain harmful substances that are bad for your health. If you want a safe alternative, try drinking out of a reusable, stainless steel water bottle.

3. Buy Organic. Non-organic fruits and vegetables may contain harmful pesticides. If you want to be certain that the fruits and vegetables you feed your family are truly  healthy, try buying organic.

4. Get The Lead Out. If your home was built before 1978, chances are, it was painted with lead paint. If you want to eliminate this harmful chemical from your home, repaint your house. When you repaint, be sure to do it in a safe way that will not stir up harmful lead dust particles.

5. Change Your Bulbs. If you are currently using compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home, change them to a safer type of light bulb. Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and they can be very dangerous to the health of your family.

6. Eliminate Excess Products. Do you use hairspray, body spray and a variety of other personal care items? Well, if you do, you could be creating a hazard in your home. Try to cut down on the excessive use of personal care items and stick to only the ones you need. Many of these products contain harsh chemicals that can be dangerous when combined.

7. Change Your Shower Curtain. If you use a vinyl shower curtain in your bathroom, get rid of it! Vinyl shower curtains contain harmful toxins that can be bad for the health of your family. Replace vinyl shower curtains with a shower curtain made of a less toxic material.

While we all like to think that our homes are safe places that are free from toxic chemicals, this is not always the case. From household cleaners to vinyl shower curtains, there are a variety of common household items that can contain potentially dangerous toxic chemicals. If you want your home to be free from toxic chemicals, try following the above listed ways to help rid your home of these harmful substances.

How Can We Avoid the Effects of Toxic Chemicals?

How Can We Avoid the Effects of Toxic Chemicals? | The Organic Beauty BlogThis past Tuesday, I attended a conference put on by the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), entitled “Birth Defects, Learning Disabilities, Obesity and Breast Cancer:  How Can We Avoid the Effects of Toxic Chemicals?”  Although many of the chemicals discussed were those that we at the Organic Beauty have been writing about for some time (see 4 Steps to Naturalize Your Life), hearing first hand about the research and catastrophic effects these chemicals have on our bodies, and particularly children, was very jarring.

A panel of brilliant doctors, many of them young fellows in the Children’s Environmental Health department at Mount Sinai, spoke about the effects of endocrine disruptors (like parabens, DDT, phthalates, PBDEs, BPA and DBP found in common plastics, electronics, furniture and beauty products) on reproductive and neurological development, as well as cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  These toxins are ubiquitous, but it is with persistent, on-going contact that the long-term effects begin to manifest.  What struck me most was how preventable  these environmental causes of disease are.  By taking action in our communities and taking manageable steps within our own homes, we can significantly lessen our exposure to toxins that can not us sick, but make our unborn children sick as well.

So… what can you do?  Become an educated consumer!

  • Use glass or stainless steel instead of plastics, especially when storing or cooking foods.  If you must use them, avoid #3 and #7 plastics, which are chock full of pretty much every toxic chemical we should be avoiding. This handy saying helps you remember: “Four, five, one and two, all the rest are bad for you!”
  • Avoid using vinyl shower curtains.  Like many other products mentioned here, these contain phthalates, the fumes from which are then inhaled every time you enter your bathroom.  Phthalates disrupt development of male reproductive organs, lower sperm count, and damage the endocrine and immune systems.
  • Use natural beauty products.  I mean honestly, at this point there is no excuse not to!  There are countless affordable, natural products out there with ingredients that are recognizable.  If you don’t know what it is, don’t put it on your skin.  At the very least, make sure anything you put on your body and hair is paraben-free, phthalate-free, and SLS-free.
  • Clean your home with a wet mop and/or a vinegar solution, and when you must use cleaning solutions, make sure they are natural and non-toxic as well.  Everything you use to clean your house with is inhaled by you, your family, and your pets.  If it’s full of disease-causing toxins, that’s what you’re going to get…disease and toxicity.  Cleaning with homemade solutions is infinitely cheaper than store-bought as well!
  • Buy fragrance-free products, or those scented with essential oils only.  Nearly every common product with a fragrance, from lotions and shampoo to detergent and countertop spray, contain toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that increase risk of all manner of cancer as well as neurodevelopmental disorders like ADD, ADHD, autism, behavioral problems and lower IQ.
  • Only use DBP, formaldehyde and toluene-free nail polish.  There are loads of brands that are now free of these chemicals, so again, there really is no excuse to expose your body to these deadly, carcinogenic chemicals, especially if you are, or are around, a pregnant woman!  (Priti and O.P.I. are just a few of the safer brands)
  • Choose PBDE-free electronics and furniture (especially mattresses).  PBDEs are flame retardants that are found in most older, stuffed furniture items and rugs, and many electronics like phones, TVs and computers.  When buying any of these items, verify that they are free of PBDEs, which decrease thyroid hormone levels, damage reproductive systems, and cause neurological symptoms as well.  The EWG has a handy PBDE Guide everyone should check out! 
  • Avoid canned foods and beverages, unless they are BPA-free.  Almost all canned foods and beverages contain BPA, which can have devastating effects on the neurological and reproductive systems, and has also been linked to heart disease, intestinal damage, diabetes, and obesity.  So far, Eden Organics is the only brand that has made the switch to all BPA-free cans.  But Trader Joe’s and Wild Planet offers some, but far from all, products in BPA-free cans.
  • Wash your hands after handling thermal receipts.  Those smooth, warm, thermal receipts used by so many retailers are made up of nearly 3% pure BPA, which then gets onto your skin and even straight into your mouth.  Always wash your hands after touching the receipts, or forgo them altogether!
Dr. Philip Landrigan, who moderated the panel, added the following universal recommendations for avoiding exposure to these dangerous toxins:
  • AVOID SMOKING
  • REDUCE YOUR CLIMATE FOOTPRINT (which lessens universal risk of exposure)
  • USE INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (instead of toxic pesticides, sprays and fumes)
  • EAT LOW ON THE FOOD CHAIN — A MOSTLY PLANT-BASED DIET
  • EAT ORGANIC WHENEVER POSSIBLE (which lowers exposure to pesticides by a whopping 90%)
  • JOIN A FOOD CO-OP  (or start one if there isn’t one in your area)
  • BE A CITIZEN!  (nothing will change if we don’t make our voices heard.  All of these environmental causes of disease are preventable, and with enough public pressure, we can get these toxins banned!)