Seasonal Summer Party Recipes

We threw a lovely little housewarming party a bit ago, to celebrate our beautiful new Santa Monica home and all we love about west coast living.  (Check out our Sustainable Summer Soiree Inspiration post for all the serving ware and decorative items we used!)

We used our weekly Out of the Box Collective CSA box of fresh, local, seasonal and organic produce as a jumping off point to create our entertaining menu, and filled in the blanks from Whole Foods and food ol’ trusty Trader’ Joe’s.

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Inspiration: Sustainable Summer Soiree!

We love a good party. And now that we live in beautiful and sunny Santa Monica, with tons of indoor and outdoor space to entertain, we were itching to throw a little housewarming party to take our space for a test ride.

In typical Organic Beauty style, we focused on elevated entertaining — using sustainable party accessories, fresh local produce, and an affinity for organic style.

Check out my inspiration board for a sustainable summer soiree, then peep some photos and recipes from our housewarming party where we put it into action!

 

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6 Best Natural Sunscreens To Use This Summer!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Best Natural Sunscreens

Sunscreen is one of those problematic areas of natural beauty: on one hand, you need it to prevent skin damage, cancer, and premature aging; on the other hand, most commercial sunscreens actually do more damage than good, by soaking harmful, hormone-discrupting, and carcinogenic chemicals (like oxybenzone and homosalate) into your skin!

Thankfully, the natural beauty has finally caught up with demand, and there are now lots of great mineral sunscreens on the market that offer up all the protection you need, without the damaging side effects.  Mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can be found in our top picks below, alongside some awesome, potent ingredients that your skin will love! Of course, all the products we recommend are paraben-free and cruelty-free.

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Don’t Let Memorial Day Screw You!

Healthy Memorial Day on The Organic Beauty

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

It’s finally, officially summer this weekend!!  I am soo excited for what might be our last summer in Brooklyn. Biking in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Saturdays on Governor’s Island, picnics in Prospect Park, getting super cozy with our friends that have gorgeous patios (yeah, I’m talking to you!!), summer is pretty much the best time of year.

But, it also has a dark side. Between all the BBQ’s, the dinner parties, the cocktail hours, the vacations, and the lobster rolls, suddenly bikini season becomes a whole lot more stressful.

See if this rings any bells:  You’re so awesome and on your game all week long. Eating those delicious green salads, drinking water, being a good little you.  And then comes the weekend.  You feel like you “deserve” a reward for all your being on, and you totally overdo it on burgers, and ribs, and cheese, and ice cream, and come Sunday night, you feel like a bloated, fat mess.  Cue the guilt and self-criticism and drama.  Cue the cravings for sugar and coffee on Monday as you come out of your food coma.  Cue beating yourself up the next time you have to get in a bathing suit.

Guys, this has to stop!  And we’re starting this weekend.

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Best Organic Sunscreens For Summer

afp-sunscreen-shutterstockBy Callie McBride

Summer solstice has rung in the season of summer, which calls for more time spent outside in the sun. Hopefully your beach bag looks a little something like this: a bikini, your current beach read, coconut water, perhaps…and SUNSCREEN! Don’t ignore your mother’s age-old advice, protect your skin! How you treat your body now will either show up later on in life, or won’t, depending on your actions. Here are some great sunscreens to try out this summer that are paraben-free, organic, and filled with necessary SPF.

Best Sunscreens for Summer:

1. Coola Sport Sunscreen Spray 

Branded as “Farm To Face Sourced”, this unscented sunscreen has 70% certified organic ingredients to protect your skin in the most natural, chemical-free way. It contains algae, cucumber fruit, and raspberry seed oil for extra nutrients, and its easy spray-on application makes it the perfect spray to throw in your bag and head for the beach.

2. Anthelios 40 by La Roche-Posay

A special sun filter-approved formula, Mexoryl™ SX, makes this sunscreen a great pick this season. Strong protection against UVA and UVB rays is guaranteed, and the ‘screen is fragrance-free and PABA-free as well.

3. Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen

97% natural, minimal processing, and with aloe and vitamins to help soothe and hydrate skin; what more could you ask for? This natural sunscreen can be used on the face and bodies, for kids and adults alike, and is a great bang for your buck.

4. 100% Pure Argan Oil Facial Moisturizer

The words ‘Argan Oil’ is enough indication that this product is a prime choice for summer; you’ll be nourishing, softening, and protecting your skin all at once. The moisturizer also has rosehip oil, green tea, and herbal extracts, which can tighten skin and improve appearance. Yes please!

5. Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer

Just check out the list of benefits that this super-product boasts: fragrance free, cruelty free, vegan, paraben free, recyclable, made with natural ingredients. Its everything you could want in a daily use product. Its SPF 40 offers broad protection from the sun, and the lightweight feel compliments a relaxing day by the pool.

6. Beeyoutiful Bee Shade All-Natural Sunscreen

Aloe Vera! Beeswax! Shea Butter, Green Tea Extract, Coconut Oil…just stop me! The ingredients in this fabulous sunscreen are unbeatable for sun protection. Just like we want it, its toxin, chemical, and paraben free. The company is very candid about its ingredient list in order to ensure customers of true quality in all of their products.

With any of these products, you can feel safe under the sun and know that you are only putting entirely natural and organic ingredients onto your skin.

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Healthy Summer Reads

By Callie McBride

Whether a new book sits on your bedside table each week, or summer is the one time of the year when you’ve even got extra time to read, a great genre of books that both entertains and educates is “health and wellness”. You can find light reads and much more in-depth books alike, that inform you of important health topics and also stir up inspiration for your own personal lifestyle. Soaking in a bubble bath or lounging on the beach are two prime spots to sink into a book and escape the world for a little while.

Here are my top healthy reads for this summer:

1. Vegan Before 6, by Mark Bittman

vb6Mark Bittman offers an interesting and completely doable concept to his readers by taking the pressure off of becoming a full-fledged vegan, and instead eating a diet free of any animal products until 6pm each day. This means that no foods are “forbidden” and no sense of deprivation is felt throughout the plan. Filled with recipes, helpful tips, and a 28-day eating plan that shows why a vegan diet is the way to go most of the time, this easy read could have even the meatiest of eaters have a change of heart.

2. Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr

The strong, beautiful, and hilarious Kris Carr brings her spunky energy and full-of-life attitude to her fourth book which walks readers through a 21-day cleanse as well as all the needed information to adopt a plant-based diet. Her writing is smart, witty, and filled with life experiences that add that personal touch necessary for readers to relate to. She covers all of the bases, including skin, hair and nails; body; spiritual energy; mental health; physical strength and energy; and happiness, all of which she promises will improve and skyrocket when switching to veganism. Especially touching is her recounting of her battle with cancer, and how incredibly brave she was to successfully turn to food as her ultimate source of medicine.

3. Yoga Cures, by Tara Stiles

This quick and fun read by Tara Stiles reveals in tiny chapters every single awesome benefit that yoga offers. From joint pain relief to weight loss to less anxiety and better sex, Stiles’ voice is relaxed and to the point in her book, which also demonstrates tons of yogi moves and includes tips and tricks to perfecting one’s flow.

4. Unbearable Lightness, by Portia De Rossi

This intense but beautifully crafted novel by actress and vegan Portia de Rossi delves into the dark world of eating disorders, as well as the touching journey to recovery. de Rossi grew up modeling and acting in Australia and, once thrown onto television in America, lost sight of what was important in surrender to her highly disordered thoughts. Her story is closely detailed and so personal that readers feel as if they experience everything alongside her. A heartwarming ending places this book on my favorites list, as it is a huge reminder of how precious life is.

5. The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone

It’s all in the title: “The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet”. Actress and resident vegan Alicia Silverstone approaches veganism in an extremely approachable and easy way in her book, which features tons of recipes that I can personally say are life-changing (I’m referring to the vegan seven-layer dip and the homemade peanut butter cups). Without going too much into detail about nutrition and health benefits, Silverstone’s cookbook serves as a reminder of all the other amazing things that going vegan can do: literally save the planet! Her aim is to cause the most cautious of readers to consider the lifestyle, and her method seems to work. Her online forum is extremely popular, as is her incredible food.

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6. YOU: The Owner’s Manual, by Dr. Mehmet Oz

For a more scientific, biology-lesson type read, pick up this heavy-duty manual by Dr. Oz. It’s got an interactive element to it with mini quizzes at the beginning of each chapter to test you knowledge on health and the body, before delving into the nitty-gritty of the body’s entire makeup. Don’t fear, this isn’t a bore. It’s chock full of information that can help turn your  entire household into a much more health-conscious one. Dr. Oz places all of the focus on YOU in this book, so with each page you will learn more ways to improve your lifestyle and maintain the best health state you possibly can.

Pick up one of these books today for your next day at the beach, and soon enough they’ll be dog-eared and torn from love. If you’ve already gone through them, enter the titles into Amazon and click  “similar to” for more healthy reads that won’t dull your mind this summer. Happy reading!

 

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