Thursday, May 5, 2016

GREENER BEAUTY-Great Gifts For Eco-Mom

Part 5

Lip balms, soothing bath salts, hydrating facial oils and masks...less the chemistry class ingredients...these premium products are ideal for sophisticated moms who deserve a natural life, lived luxuriously...with indulgence encouraged. 

Bottega Organica-"farm to bottle" ..."designed by science...made by nature" ---has a very impressive collection of skin/body care- using transparently sourced ingredients from their own farms in Italy and upstate NY.----the line was founded by geneticist Dr. Andrea Alimonti-and inspired by research on aging cells-conjured up powerful rejuvenating formulae made of 100% natural ingredients. Popular EYE ILLUMINATE cream made of radiant inducing cucumber+horse chestnut, rosemary-imo lends it a distinct pleasing aroma, healing arnica, stimulating coneflower, anti-aging prawn sage, and wild carrots for anti-oxidant oomph!!! Love it...highly hydrating and only a tiny dab needed/eye area.
MALAYA Organics MO is to nourish the body's largest oils + Lavender Lip Savior $12
pretty enough to collect...MALAYA bath treats- add a handful to a bath in the enclosed a pouch-relaxing+soothing herbs-elevates the home-spa experience

there is not a jacket in our wardrobe that does not have a balm in it...which is why we think these USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC (yay) cute cocktail inspired moisturizing lip savers---are fun gifts to give and get for the martini, old fashioned,  -or negroni leaning in life. Founders husband+wife Phil+Kristen-she a former Food+Wine Editor-conjured up-Stewart+Claire in Brooklyn-but have since decamped to PA. Lip scrubs like Mint Julep Lip Scrub...and seasonal lips balms made of beeswax, essential+herbal oils like soothing jojoba, shea butter, and safflower oils, and interesting 'accents'  like Autumn's ginger, cardamom and cinnamon and black pepper...available too.

Earth Tu Face has a large following -from what we could see at the ELEV8 luxury green beauty event..fell for these beauties-limited edition shells ($78) that click shut-filled with solid Botanical Perfume Balm-fab gifts-3 scents available///including our fav Geranium + Vetiver "... featuring Geranium, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang, Lavender, and Patchouli..."

LILFOX founded by Alexa Rose-a very congenial healer-certified aromatherapist has several "whimsical and luxury beauty" hand crafted products-all and crafted in Miami...including the pictured fresh purifying/brightening masks/cleansers. In the front the Jungle Glow $75 is made of hydrating/healing raw rainforest honey from Hawaii, mineral rich Amazonian clay, vitamin C rich reshape, strawberry and goji berry fruits ...and raw cacao-adds some color-that is rich in magnesium and sulfur--with high level of anti-oxidants-and increases blood flow to skin for that sunny Floridian glow. 

NUORI has a 12 week production schedule that epitomizes freshly made, small batch products with actives still, well-active, guaranteed.

A Scandinavian import-NUORI -like most European goods-is stamped with an expiration date...WHAT: No parabens, synthetic color, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, petroleum, PEGs, sulfates, MEA, DEA, TEA, polypropylene glycol, phthalates, and silicones...but is made of 100% natural ingredients...we tried the Enriched Hand Lotion-White Tea Blossom fresh lightweight lotion with shea butter, olive squalane, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, with white tea extract that sunk right in...and unlike most mainstream hand lotions-we felt no need to rinse off before we eat.   
OLD ORCHARD-came together rather quickly-and the packaging reminded  us of time worn barn wood planks with a beautiful flower print. Neat---pictured are bath salts/pellets...scoop a few in. Like the use of glass-easily recyclable.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

GREENER BEAUTY: Fragrances-Scents Modern Mom Gifts

Curiously, even though fragrances, colognes and perfumes sell a-ok worldwide...imo-in this country (USA)...wearing fragrance seems to viewed more as a special night out splurge (or spritz) vs using everyday by habit, with freshening up dabs every few  hours...especially, it seems -by the much desired millennial consumer group.

Given-some of the fantastical packaging by bigger companies- is the sole reason for the scent purchase ...and the 'bottle' just sits on shelves and tabletops...never to be opened-just eye-balled.

Which is why these intriguingly complex scents, more modestly bottled- might change the actual usage rate- for more sophisticated scent dabblers.


In fragrance or body oil formats...using expensive natural essential oils yields a much more multi-level aromatic 'experience' and a modern one too.

 Fyi-use less because these fragrances aren't disappearing in some chemical cloud.


LURKmade-perfume oils and eau de toilette deserves a spot on any boudoir-or dresser, female or male.
All Lurk hand made fragrances-bearing quirky letter/number names-deliver a much much richer sensory experience...made without synthetics, fixatives, parabens, phthalates, GMOs, chemical preservatives, or denatured alcohol by founder Anne Nelson Sanford.

Leaning towards androgynous aromatic spicy, woodsy sophisticated scents-we tried the transporting Lurk's BS003 is a dry woods mix with crisp citrus notes and sweet bergamot. Day or's the kind of perfume that will have even nose aficionados going an approving nod.

LURK perfumes transcend age, race, gender, attitude and affliction. Perfume Oils $64-$66 include the modern floral RSW005 -warm sandalwood +earthy rose combo with a crisp citrus finish -vibrant mysterious layered aroma---not cloyingly sweet, Love this.

Eau de Toilette $185-$225

Strange Invisible -no the fragrance name of this spectacular Reserve Series scent-The Rose With The Broken Nest ($425)- not a marketing gimmick ---but as inspiration---capturing the fire and fragility of the human heart. All of the perfumes from this Venice CA based company are hand crafted- using certified organic, wild crafted biodynamic and hydro-distilled essences---limited editions too- actually aged 6 months. Interesting. New-fragrances based on each zodiac sign-fun gift for that special mom...with a twist in interpretation resulting in a layered multi-sensory experience---i.e. Capricorn-The Force To Be Reckoned With!

"WEAR REAL FLOWERS" Florescent's PRETTY BIRD - sought of simple name-but a very complex elegant (imo) sensory experience...hand blended perfumes with organic and wild-crafted essential oils, extracts and rare absolutes...of bergamot, bois de rose, clove bud.

Mullein & Sparrow-Brooklyn based -has the ultimate ROSE SET ($69) for Mother's Day that will last a lot longer than the actual flowers. Pictured-the Body Oil crafted with pure rose essential oil and organic rose petals...inside the bottle.  Set comes with comes with Bath Salts, Rose Hydrosol and Divine Tea.
Part 5

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Greener Beauty-Premium Quality-Mother's Day Gift Ideas

PART 3-Small Batch Skin/Body/Hair Care...Mother's Day Gift Sets -Natural + Non-Toxic Ingredients and Cruelty Free

Some crazy amount of lipstick gets eaten a year...


Which has us re-evaluating what we slather on lip-wise- multiple times/day.

founded by breast cancer survivor makeup artist Susie Lee-ECHO VIE Organic Oil-body $45 restore moisture and Natural Lip Balms $18 in a pretty color via minerals keep lips hydrated -natural oils+shea butter nuturing ingredients

AXIOLOGY has gotten print press love...with its array of colors, natural/organic ingredients and sustainable packaging "with a purpose"-recycled paper-pulp then processed by hand... and then made into the lipstick boxes- by Bali, Indonesian women. Vegan+Cruelty Free.

pretty colors for all skin tones...

SALTS...the common ingredient-facial care, balms, hair sprays... from nautically-themed- NY based Captain Blankenship

" wild with nature" like soothing ORLA BATH SALTS citrus+essential oils blend-$20

Color coded labels-based on needs...Apoterra products-treat all skin types-soaps, facial/body oils, toners, serums, masques...with unique batch numbers on labels that one can lookup on for production date  ...neat concept and this level of transparency is certainly lacking in beauty biz for sure.

Apoterra-beautifully packaged-with vintage feel

Argan oil -is a super ingredient-multi-tasker rich in Vitamin E/anti-oxidants...and the basis for Kahina-Giving Beauty...using sustainable, Fair Trade sourced organic Argan Oil from Morocco but made in the USA. Toning mist, Facial Cleanser, Facial Toner, Soaps, Serums and Perfume Oils...beautifully packaged-the 'writing' aka illustrative signature.on the label is by the Berber women who hand crack the organ nuts to obtain this rich oil. Available in many high end retailers as well as online-with a dedicated company mission to offer the highest quality products "...while preserving, protecting and enhancing the resources (natural, human, and cultural) behind the brand."
CHIA is also a super ingredient-naturally blessed with anti-oxidants and healthy Omega Fatty Acids---MAYA CHIA harnesses the oil from the chia seed in its hard working Super Couple™ multi-correctional high performance face oil serum...which we tried a few drops after a skin drying pool swim. Sinks right in fyi-very lightweight-plus has wild botanical-plant actives and powerful anti-ager Astaxanthin- good for most skin types-even sensitive. Nice multi-tasked to travel with...brightens overall tine, diminishes the fine lines and wrinkles, and hydrates skin.
Organic Fair Trade and Family Farmed ingredients

just like the food industry-ingredient labels are getting smaller-the entire MO of Brooklyn based SW Basics...with gift sets and essential kits-cleverly packaged stating "No Fragrance, Fillers Or Synthetic para-sulfate-whatchamacallits.". Well priced wonder this company has really taken off. Recyclable glass packaging.

full mini kit

Organic Lip Balm kit- btwCertified B Corporation, too

Monday, May 2, 2016

GREENER BEAUTY: Nails/Deodorants Part 2


Nail polishes and deodorants...two of the most commonly used items by women worldwide...are not acclaimed for their eco ingredients. Fortunately- less toxic options of these popular items- now exist...that are vegan, cruelty free-and made in small batches by companies run by aware individuals.

For nail polishes...arguably it's the color that is the determining factor-the reason a consumer buys. Fortunately "5 free" -(formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene and allergens camphor and formaldehyde resin)—vegan, cruelty -free options are fairly common now...with several brands showing off on-trend colors and finishes to satisfy any nail art maestro.

Note: The FTC is cracking down on companies-with products labelled "100% natural" label- when they contain some ingredients that are not... accordingly-nail polishes are never labelled thus...

SOIGNÉ from across the Pond-showed off loads of colors...

SOIGNÉ Arle Art Box gift set

NY based ADESSE New York 5 Free formulas...loved this pale minty green-options include Liquid Chrome metallics and Glitter polishes
Natural deodorants are aluminum-free (AND NO synthetic ingredients, parabens, propylene-glycol) a good thing-but don't work for us after a few hours-for stink free wear. We were told it takes 2 weeks for the body to acclimate-ridding the body of "toxins" and "fluid build-ups" that cause odors...but we don't buy that...

 as we seriously sweat out toxins/fluids daily-training for long distance triathlons. But for a few hours when we were just hanging out around-not working up a sweat...Pachy (pictured below)  roll-on glided on clear and kinda worked (2 hours)- with scents-that are almost cologne-like... Kaia Naturals (pictured above) we did not try...made by Canada based company makes popular Juicy Bamboo Cleansing Clothes

Pachy comes in several scented options and a no scent option


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Skin/Body Care+Fragrances- Beauty Biz Going Green


Essential Oils for Face/Lips/Body, Bath Salts, Botanical+Herbal Fragrances -Small Batch Premium Selections

There's not a major demographic out there-that is not scrutinizing what ingredients...deemed "natural" or "organic" really means...besides reading the labels...whether looking for a broader story line to connect to... embracing a message that offers personal or environmental benefits...or examining the provenance of a product's components.  Just being 'green'-at premium prices no less-may entice consumers-but they're going to want more than that "simple" sales pitch which is cropping up regularly these days.

Which is why most of the small batch, entrepreneurs we met at a premium beauty event organized by ELEV8.- literally/package make the array of skin/bodycare and fragrances versus having a private contractor do it.
PLUS-each brand we sampled-has a compelling narrative as to the whys/wheres/hows of their relatively young company's beauty product offerings.

Noticeably-ingredients were not only certified organic or naturally sourced from known sources, but importantly- not in the mix... the typical mass market additives...that get used by the typical big company 'Natural' products. (

Essential oils, renewable sourced botanics and herbs, bath salts, and petro-chemical +synthetic free fragrances dominated the offerings...with eco packaging (recyclable-oand/or from recycled materials) and cruelty free/sustainable production methods a priority. Another must-packaging had to preserve the integrity of the ingredients.


Birchrose + Co-100% handcrafted -100% natural ingredients-Body polish get massaged into skin...left on a few minutes, then rinsed...the algae + grapefruit one on the right center=$22 and is made from wild harvested undaria algae with hydrating coconut oil-Dead Sea salts, essential oils of grapefruit, yang yang, +lime

Prim Botanicals -large collection if all natural beauty brand based in the Philippines and California. Perfume+body/facial oils, super hydrating lip sheens in sheer tints, hand pour soy candle

The spoil yourself silly body scrub (mediterranean sea salt, himalayan pink salts, pink grapefruit and turbaned brown sugar) -and the debauchery detox body scrub (Hawaiian black lava salt, epsom salt, activated charcoal and Philippine bark coffee and Amazonian oils) names...aromatic home spa essentials 

Thorn & Bloom artisan botanical perfumes lack any synthetic aroma chemicals, any petrochemical 'stuff', preservatives, phthalates, or GMOs. Beautifully packaged, scent choices range from floral-to smoke-spice-green.  Interesting FAQs explain why even though most ingredients are organic or wild harvested...Thorn & Bloom is not USDA organic certified.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Good Enough To Eat: Review- Beyond Brunch

Good Enough To Eat 520 Columbus Avenue/85th Street-NYC
In homage to a Vermont farmhouse -plunked down on a bustling stretch of Manhattan's UWS 'hood, GOOD ENOUGH TO a NYC cultural institution, brunch wise...with legendary lines (tourists/natives) on any given weekend -waiting for copious helpings of homemade-in-house breakfast classics and breads.

Not a queuer or around weekends-for that matter, we never-the-less jumped at the chance to sample some eats from an establishment that is arguably-one of the first restaurants that embraced the farm to table credo of dining...sourcing local producers for a wide variety of what's on the menu...and making it all fresh-daily, ably illustrated by this pic we took...
organic and locally sourced ingredients...from iconic NYC establishments and smaller area farms-less carbon footprint in deliveries let alone guarantee-you will know that what you are eating is what it claims to be...particularly important when it comes to eating seafood!

The quaint overhead lights are slightly dimmed in the evening, the background 'soft jazz/standards-like' music-barely detectable...allows for easy conversation and is the perfect sound pitch for diners...that range from several duos of locals, a young family with baby stroller discretely sitting beside a table, and a scattering of people eating by themselves...always a sign of a relaxed atmosphere with food that is equal to -or in our case FOR SURE waaay better than anything that can be  cooked at home-including those ingredient delivery services where you still have to put it all together-and clean-up afterwards!!!!

We stopped by a on cold wintry worthy Spring the outdoor tables that align Columbus Ave. were all empty...but got a welcoming 180º experience when we entered the warm atmosphere of Good Enough To Eat itself-simply decorated with farm-country signs, a mini white picket fence aligning the space separating the bar from the main eating area---and adorable artistic efforts from past patrons.
paper and crayons-on demand

MENU wise---this is a crowd pleasing kind of restaurant at value prices---with those in-demand breakfast items available BLT Omelette with Gruyere cheese $12,  a Vegan Tofu Scramble $13, and the stomach filling Lumber Jack-2 pancakes, 2 strips of bacon and two scrambled eggs $14...

But we headed for the healthy kind of dinner options-choosing from a wide swath of casual favorites and more fancy specialties- salads, sandwiches, burgers, soups, old-fashioned entrees including a daily fish special, and stripped steak...preceded by starters with an international bent that are now American staples (guacamole+quesadillas).

Friendly -prompt service could not have been better...with two glasses of wine delivered pronto...choosing from a well priced drinks menu...
Chardonnay-Sauvignon Blanc-generous pours ($10-$12)....though we could have chosen from a list of bottled or on tap beers, specialty cocktails-including martinis, and a variety of wines-including bubbly sips.

Food wise...we began with a smoked salmon salad-  a nod to the neighborhood's heritage-which is practically large enough to be an entreé all by itself.
half a portion....shareable smoked salmon salad $18-mixed greens lightly dressed with green peas, red onions,  crunchy capers and crisp garlic croutons...underneath generous slices a fish. Yummy
Crowd pleasers like guacamole and chips-or crispy onion rings double as bar food too (always ordered-by a neighboring diner)---Added plus we were clued into-the inhale-able homemade potato chips...that are so good-a seated patron near us just went up to the bar, mid meal -for a handful.  (Starters-$7-$12) 
MAIN MEAL selections are indulgent-meaning mouth watering very shareable-plus there are lot of healthy choices...
A crispy crunch every bite... and fresh-mildly spiced-ginger+watercress sauce...a VEGETABLE MOUNTAIN-stir-fry slice fresh carrots, zucchini, red bell peppers, scallions, radishes, scallions, and green cabbage $15.50-served with shrimp (extra $6)- atop a mound of sticky brown rice-delicious  

this serving of 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili-with fresh biscuits -southwestern fav with cheddar cheese atop brown rice $16.95 -ended up half going home-so filling but our meat eating pal deemed it 'perfect' ...

why wait till Thanksgiving???? Roasted turkey and gravy, cornbread stuffing, cranberry relish and sautéed kale-Tradition Turkey Dinner-a choice of a neighboring diner..Americana on demand and funny-we never see this on a menu yet it's so popular. $19.95
Burgers always in demand at $14-$ with add-on toppings ($1.95-$2.95)-like cheese (7 choices!)...served up with crispy fries...regular, turkey and vegetable options...also served to a neighboring diner...a regular, fyi

LOTS of Sides, Desserts like Pineapple Upside Down Cake with fresh whipped cream $8...and FUN FUN FUN old fashioned Shakes -grown-up versions too---spike 'em for a worth it added $5.00.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trail Runners/Outdoor Kicks Hit The Street With Style



A few years back-females' shoe swappings (flats/sneakers to heels) outside of fashion shows, day time office buildings, nighttime bars/clubs=pretty standard visuals in Manhattan.

Not anymore...and it's not just that those teetering stilettos are maybe hidden in work cubicles. Nope-from what we can see- the foot wardrobes of the ladies -are mostly fashion comfort-and functional all-terrain kicks - performance shoes/sandals including decidedly outdoorsy silhouettes-ALL THE TIME.
These kicks-are paired up with frilly dresses, dressier denim and athleisure wear looks that increasingly get worn M-F / 24/7.

And it makes sense-especially for trail-and rugged water shoes...with their beefed up grippy outsoles, cushioning midsoles and supportive insoles with anti-odor, moisture wicking, and stability features would find favor with those who toil the urban canyons.

Plus, digital printing makes those uppers, eye-candy too. No wonder, big name fashion houses are coming (copying) out with their own price-y versions.

CHACO Outcross Free lightweight amphibious design with that all day LUVSEAT™PU midsole, non-marking EcoTread™ outsole combined with cute breathable mesh paper, synthetic leather heel/toe cap, jacquard polyester webbing-speed lacing, and open wall construction-on the sides...great travel option too. $110

La Sportiva has Italian flair minimalist sleek look $125...Helios 2.0 for gals has hydrating upper mesh-fast lacing, integrated gusset+heel cup