The Day After Earth Day

Happy Day After Earth Day! Now what?

Earth Day every day right? Sometimes it’s very easy to fall back into the everyday habits we’ve created. It’s easy when we throw something away to let it, quite literally, be out of sight out of mind. Our culture and economy seem to value convenience above all else. Our lives are busy, we’re juggling careers and kids and money. We often go for what is easy instead of being mindful and recognizing that taking care of the planet in our capitalist society is actually at odds with what that society has taught us to value in its products and in our lifestyle. CONVENIENCE. Taking care of the planet means different choices, a change in our routine and thinking and approach, and it takes time. Maybe it’s time our values supersede these habits. And often, once we get over the initial psychological hurdle, it just becomes something that we do, something that we teach our children to do, and our by-product is a healthier planet and a more mindful generation. Here are some ideas to help you on your path to make Earth Day your Way of Life.

What Happens to Your Clothes?

We all donate our old clothes to good causes, but did you know that your moth-eaten sweater and holey socks do not need to sit in a landfill for eternity? Nope. They don’t! Planet Aid will recycle your unusable textiles, so don’t let them go to waste. Drop them in one of their yellow bins and help save the planet with your discard pile. Find a bin near you.

Compost!

Food waste generates more methane in landfills than it does when it breaks down naturally. Why shouldn’t that organic material have the opportunity to be put to use again to grow other plants? We have our little compost bin on the kitchen counter and we empty it out regularly. It does not smell or attract flies if you pay enough attention to it and make it part of your lifestyle. For those of us in cities that provide a green bin (like Los Angeles for example), lucky us! We can dump all fruit and veggie scraps into it and the city will take it for compost–it says so on the bin! You can make a compost bin or buy a worm bin. Use your compost to garden, to give to friends who garden, to sell on Craigslist, whatever. If you have kids, a worm bin provides endless learning opportunity and some great bonding time and funny memories. <3

Eat the Peel

Why put it in the compost when you can eat it? Yep, eat the peel! Lemon peel, orange peel, clementine peel, grapefruit peel, BANANA PEEL. They are all edible and very good for you. You just need to figure out how you like them served.

Small Things Turn into Big Things

Make big stews for the week–avoid takeout waste and spend less money! Stainless steel storage is a great alternative to plastic tupperware containers. Try Bee’s Wrap instead of plastic saran wrap. Have a trash bag and a recyclables bag in your car to make sure that everything that can be recycled IS recycled (I even have a compost bag in my car). Keep your canvas grocery bags in the car too to avoid plastic bags–wildlife is dying because of them. Turn off all lights and appliances that aren’t being used–even the ones we don’t think about, like the ones that emit a little red or blue light just because they are plugged in. And didja know, you probably did, that you can bring your own cup to Starbucks.

There are so many things we can all do to break this cycle of favoring convenience over our environment, and we have to be clear-eyed about the real impact our carelessness has. We’d love to hear what you do to keep this beautiful planet green–including any favorite nonprofits you spend your time with or give to. We’d love to hear from you!

Go West With Perfectly Posh

GIVEAWAY: Win a free Full Moon Chunk Bath Bar by liking and tagging our instagram post. Offer ends Mon Apr 24.

In some ways the intrigue of going West hasn’t changed. It’s a chance to escape, start over, follow dreams, chase down the golden sun. We both moved out here from the Northeast at different times for different reasons, but our ambitions very much align.

The opportunity to begin again has left us with an insatiable desire for our personal evolution. Most of our conversations revolve around the discovery of new ideas or passion projects that we feel reinforce our ideals and include leaving less impact. Choosing good products that align with our mission as well as our dietary restrictions is no small feat.

Melissa and I can be quite selective when it comes to ingredients. We try to use raw ingredients or simple handmade concoctions to replace over-processed products. We realize though that we often lack the funds, know-how, or time to do everything from scratch.

We were approached recently by a really cool company, Perfectly Posh, to sample a line of beauty products. Their focus as a company is to be natural and also affordable—two things that don’t always go hand-in-hand.

Overall, we were impressed with the quality. Perfectly Posh is cruelty free, mostly vegan, and naturally made. When their products include wheat in some form, they have specified so with parenthesis making it easy to follow for those who are gluten sensitive.

While Posh’s ingredient lists on the label are still a little opaque, their website and their representatives’ knowledge is extensive. We were reassured that all of the products are naturally sourced though first glance at the ingredients list doesn’t give you that image right away. If you prefer raw ingredients at their purest form, then these products may not suit your needs, however, Perfectly Posh is reasonably priced and their quality and sources exceed your typical beauty products.

YOU’RE INVITED: Perfectly Posh Paradise is offering a free lip balm to any order of $40 or more (before shipping and tax)! Offer ends 5 PM Mon Apr 24.

Go West Face Mask ($19)

Love! We both found this mask to be super light with a subtle and pleasant smell. The exfoliation is not severe and the feeling is quite calming and refreshing. This product won our hearts.

Moisturizer 911 ($19)

This one was a mixed bag. While also subtle in smell, once on, it has a pleasant citrus smell. Initially, we felt that it was light and energizing, but Melissa reacted to something almost immediately and had to wash the product off. If you’re sensitive in this way, definitely test this one in a small amount first (as you should with all beauty products).

Beach Blanket Big Fat Yummy Hand Créme ($9)

This hand cream will remind you of summers full of coconut! We loved the light silky feeling as well m, which made sharing this one harder than the rest. And it’s a great size to carry in your bag! How many times have you lamented that your hands needed some love, but you didn’t have purse-sized solution?

Full Moon Chunk Bath Bar ($9) Giveaway!

You tell us! We are giving away this gender bender chunk bath bar made of cedar wood and sea salt. We would love to hear what you think of it! Perfectly Posh Paradise description: Gender Bender is the charcoal based soap. It’s one of the best sellers because it’s so versatile and just flat out amazing due to the natural d-tox properties of charcoal.

Follow two simple steps in order to enter:

  1. Like our instagram post.
  2. Tag a friend who deserves to be pampered.
No purchase necessary. All ages eligible. US & Canada only. Winner will be selected at random and announced on Mon Apr 24 2017.

DISCLAIMER: We were provided with these products for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by any mentioned brands or companies, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
CREDITS// Article & Photos: Lorelai Birch & Melissa Collins.

Why I Can’t Finish A Project

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Leonardo Da Vinci

While being called ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’ is quite complimentary, there are times I think it’s more of a curse. As I write this, a half-knit scarf is strewn about on the countertop. A hand-pressed paper order remains to be filled. A dress with an unfinished hem is draped over the back of my chair, and other sewing projects are lying in pieces, measured and cut and half-assembled, stored throughout my tiny house. I have more stashes of ideas then I know what to do with. One project can spin off into dozens of inspirations — and a dozen more roadblocks.

Fate

It’s not just the tangible, crafting side that stumbles along. A few weeks ago I hit a bad bit of digital luck, twice. First, my only external hard drive failed. I know better than to work without a fail safe, but I did anyways. Batches of photos and projects from college and a myriad of digital clutter carried with me from computer to computer over the past ten years lost. To be honest, I’m not even sure exactly what it is I lost, but I felt it deeply.

A few hours later? I crashed this blog — and spent a week rebuilding it from scratch.

So whether tangible or digital, it seems there is always some twist in the fabric of the universe conspiring to interrupt. To diverge the well-planned path. To throw a curveball. And, oftentimes, a minor interruption becomes a long-term disruption, and projects remain unfinished.

Wise Words

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my college animation teacher back at Emerson. I wanted to stay after class, frustrated and eager to restart an already handed-in assignment, because I just wasn’t satisfied with certain parts of how it came together. That’s when she told me, if you keep editing the past, you’ll never be done. Instead use what you learned to make your next project better. Wise words.

Leaving a project unfinished is always something I beat myself up over, but I’m learning to embrace it, albeit reluctantly. I’m working to be more conscious and comfortable in declaring something as ‘finished’ — even though I could still change a few things, or acknowledging that I have simply lost interest.

The hard drive remains broken and corrupted. I decided it wasn’t worth a full paycheck to recover it. The rose-colored memories of candid college photos and old photoshoots on that drive are probably best forgotten. More than likely, the actual ones and zeroes were just grainy, pointless snapshots of people I only met once… and there is probably a reason I was never inspired to return to them in so many years.

In fact, I feel unburdened knowing that I have a clean slate. Sometimes moving on is moving up.

The Clearest Skin You Ever Had

Skin as Clear as the Clear Blue Sky

When I was in high school, I had problems with breakouts the way almost every kid does. While I didn’t have terrible, on-going battles with acne, stress and very little sleep contributed to an ambush of cystic pimples. I didn’t get a ton all at once. Rather, I was the victim of an almost monthly zit that would turn red, hurt like the dickens, balloon to the size of a small planet, and make it’s home somewhere conspicuous, like my upper lip, or between my eyes. And then it would squat there for as long as possible–once, for over a month. This continued into college and as my love of natural remedies took root, I sought solutions. Some of these things have been add-ons over the years, but this is what I do to keep my skin clear, and I have to say, it has worked pretty darn well over the years.

Note: I am not a doctor or a trained health professional. I am simply sharing what has worked for me. If you have health concerns regarding any of the following, especially regarding medications and supplements, please confer with your medical team.

Drink lots of water. Like, a gallon a day. Okay? Check? Moving on…

Allium

Allium is a genus of flowering plants that includes both onion and garlic…And I want you to eat them both! Read on…

Eat onion. Drink onion. Put it on your skin. I occasionally went through phases of including lots of sautéed onion in my diet, and I noticed that whenever I was on an onion kick, I got a ton of complements on my skin, so I started paying attention. And I found that, yes, when I ate onion, my skin stayed super clear. Onion’s concentration of quercetin rises when it is cooked; it is also not hard on your stomach the way it is when consumed raw. It is high in sulphur which is needed for collagen synthesis and will detoxify cells. In the middle of a breakout, I will slice an onion and stick a juicy piece directly on the affected area. I will boil an onion and drink the broth or wash my face with it and consume the boiled veggie. It really is a miracle food. And it still happens, actually. Whenever I’m on an onion kick, people still comment. No joke.

Raw, pressed garlic. There are immuno benefits to eating raw garlic (it’s part of my cold prevention ritual), and I find that my skin is clearer no matter what way I decide to ingest it (boiled, roasted, raw, pickled). My personal experience has proven it to be very effective.

Supplements

Zinc and chromium picolinate supplements. In college, I began taking both these supplements as soon as I felt something nasty beginning to form under my skin, and the majority of the time, I would head a breakout off at the pass. Usually, this was enough to curb it completely and resolve any kind of “oweeee” that was beginning to form. Take zinc with a meal as it will upset your stomach in the most terrible way if taken without food. Zinc aids in tissue healing and prevents scarring, and chromium picolinate reduces skin infection. Zinc and iron are at odds with each other, so if you are taking an iron supplement, take them at different times. Zinc may also decrease copper absorption, so do you research on what is appropriate for your body. Chromium has an effect on insulin, so if this is a concern of yours, please make yourself aware. It also can inhibit zinc absorption, and has an effect on certain medications as well as iron absorption, so again, do what is best for you.

Salt

Mix salt or baking soda (also a salt) in with your facewash. Salt is antimicrobial and aids in wound healing. It also soothes inflammation. I began to notice how clear my skin was when I spent time in the ocean, and began using it to ensure my skin remained clear when I was out of the ocean. I use fine sea salt or baking soda and mix it in my hand after I pump my facewash. I either exfoliate with it (the cheapest most effective exfoliant I’ve ever used), or let it sit on my skin for a minute to do its work. Don’t let the salt sit too long though, because it will burn you. Then wash away. Clean and clear.

Oil. Yes, oil.

Moisturize at night with grapeseed oil. Yep. Pure unadulterated oil. I have not experienced a clogged pore yet due to using oil as a moisturizer and I’ve used grapeseed, olive, and coconut oils directly on my skin with no adverse effects. I use grapeseed though, because in one tablespoon alone you will find 46% Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and aids in wound healing and scar reduction. I have found it to be very effective–especially if I’m post breakout (which occurs usually post too much coffee and chocolate), and I’m trying to get rid of the red left in its wake. It does happen.

Tell Me About It!

Those are the big things I do to keep my skin clear, and they have worked for me for years. If you try any of these suggestions, please let us know how they worked for you! <3

CREDITS// Article & Photos: Melissa Collins.

Zap the Common Cold

How Brave Are You?

I have finally found my answer to the common cold. I have even avoided the flu and strep throat, both in my household within a week of each other. I repeat: I avoided the flu and strep throat in my home within a week of each other. This solution is not for the faint of heart, but I encourage you to give it a try.

Note: Efficacy is contingent upon your ability to act at the onset of symptoms and your willingness to do all these things simultaneously (not pick and choose). This does take commitment and a little bit of bravery, but it is worth it. However, I am not a medical expert. I simply know that this is what has worked for me time and again. As always, talk to your doctor and do what is best for you.

Vitamins

Take: Juice of one whole lemon in water. Drink. Then eat the flesh. Then eat the peel. Yes, eat the peel. It is best to choose organic lemons for this; no pesticide peels please, my brave ones. (You’re welcome to eat more than one in a day, just make sure you don’t upset your stomach.) This is your vitamin C, but there are other benefits to eating a whole lemon as well. Every day, first thing in the morning when you wake. If you can, drink lemon water all day too.

Take: Vitamin D, preferably in liquid form not pill form. Most of us are D deficient anyway, but did you know (fun fact), your immune system cannot mobilize without vitamin D? In the morning when you wake.

Herbal Immuno Support

Take: One dropper full each of Echinacea Extract and Astragalus Extract in water every two hours until bedtime. If you wake up in the middle of the night, take a dropper full of each again. It’s good to gargle it before you swallow (it will help your throat). My favorite brand is Herb Pharm, which is organic and uses a sugar cane alcohol instead of a grain-based alcohol for those of us with grain allergies (make sure it says cane alcohol on the bottle if this is a concern for you). Do this until symptoms disappear, but do not continue for more than two weeks at a time without giving your body a break.

Netipot Your Face

Action: Add half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda to distilled water or freshly boiled water in a clean, sterilized netipot. If boiling your water, make sure you boil for at least three minutes. DO NOT USE WATER STRAIGHT FROM YOUR TAP WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. It is still possible for there to be organisms in your water (amoeba naegleria fowleri, yes, even if you live in America), so do not take a chance. If you’ve never done this, get ready for some fun! Put the long end of the netipot into a nostril of your choosing (hopefully yours) after you’ve filled it with your water-salt-baking-soda solution. Tilt your head forward and to the side so that when you pour the water into your face, it will exit through your open nostril. Are we having fun yet? Probably not, but this will help whatever you’re coming down with to rinse down the drain instead of stick in your face. Morning and night.

It Keeps the Vampires Away

Take: Using a garlic press or a good old fashioned knife, crush one raw garlic clove. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Then put the entire crushed clove into a spoonful of oil (grapeseed, warmed coconut, or olive are best I think). Grab a glass of water and knock it back like a shot. If you have a sensitive tummy, do this after a meal. Then you might want to grab some mint oil and add a couple drops to a mouthful of water to neutralize the garlic odor. I don’t mind it, but others may. *wink* PS–cooked garlic and garlic pills do not act the same as raw garlic. Also, your cloves must be freshly crushed and must set out for some minutes so that its juices properly mingle to maximize its antibacterial benefits. Three times a day with your meal (if you can handle doing this more than once…I believe in you.).

Action: Drink a ton of water, get good sleep, don’t let yourself get cold, and eat “clean.”

Like I said, I know it is not for the faint of heart, but I encourage you to buck up, forge ahead, and give the flu the finger. And when I find a remedy that is as easy as contracting a cold, I promise, you will be the first to know about it.

CREDITS// Article & Photos: Melissa Collins.