Tag Archives: organic

Natural Products Swap

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       I think that even a small change is a valiant effort in taking control of your own physical health. In this day and age where the emphasis is on easy/fast/cheap, health can often take a backseat to work, kids, social interaction…you name it. I don’t want to preach and by no means think I am a health expert, but most of my life has been spent in cities that  are probably the most health conscious environments in the country. Just by osmosis I feel like I’ve picked up so much information about new, healthier, products and techniques that can make a huge difference in your health and well being.  If a health overhaul seems daunting (and expensive), and you don’t know where to start, pick one thing and stick to it. You can slowly add less toxic products to your routine going forward. For example, three years ago I stopped using conventional, store bought, and completely TOXIC deodorant. I’ve probably tried most of the aisle of natural deodorants in Whole Foods, most of which had little to no effect for me personally, and I’ve heard time and time again from others, that they have felt the same way. After trying and tossing most of the natural deodorant sticks I bought, I tried the crystal. This product apparently has some sort of negative “hippie” stigma.  Every time one of my girl friends saw it in my travel bag, or if a guest saw it in my medicine cabinet, they would give me a strange look and comment on it saying something like “thats for crunchy granola eaters.” Well guess what people…IT WORKS, and I’ve found that in conjunction with a natural spray deodorant (the crystal needs a wetting agent, such as water) this miracle combo lasts all day. My absolute favorite spray deodorant is from Aesop and contains refreshing vetiver, which adds a double dose of protection.

Enough about deodorant. Facial cleansers and scrubs are another crucial part of the everyday routine. The objective for cleaning your face is to remove dirt, grime, pollution…not add to it! Most all grocery store brands have harsh chemicals and parabens that can add to problems like breakouts and damaged skin. I love using  organic brands like Eminence, but these products can add up and break the bank. Simple homemade face scrub can be used with just baking soda and water. This mixture is super alkaline and after using it for even a few days, you will notice a balance in your skin. Put a few tablespoons of baking soda in a small mason jar, and add a pour spot top for an easy dispenser. Add a few shakes to wet hands and scrub. Use twice a day for best results. Easy.

Anything you rub, brush, paint, or spray on your body goes INTO your body. I try and think about this beyond just the lotions and cleansers that I use. Fragrance can deliver a potent spritz of chemicals and preservatives which can in turn cause rashes and allergic reactions. I have super sensitive skin and have started using essential oils as fragrance almost exclusively. There are a few exceptions to this, my favorite being Le Labo. This company’s fragrances are completely organic and natural. The “fragrance life” of Le Labo is what may have made this company so popular. The oils in the perfume linger for days, and changes in a lovely way as the hours roll on. They have an awesome program where you can purchase samples that contain a few days worth of fragrance to make sure you love it before you take the plunge. These perfumes are pricey but a bottle will undoubtedly last you a year or longer…and the best part is  you don’t have to feel bad spraying it on your body!

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Giveaway: Herbivore Botanicals

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Lapis | Orchid | Phoenix | Facial Oils-Herbivore Botanicals

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We love us some Herbivore Botanicals. This small company based out of Seattle has grown leaps and bounds since our giveaway with them a year ago. It’s been fun to watch them grow within the URBN community, as they are now carried at two of our four stores (Free People, and Urban Outfitters). Whats so great about these facial oils you ask? Lets talk about Concentrated Moisture. In contrast to traditional cream moisturizers and lotions which tend to be high in water and emulsifying agents but low in effective ingredients HB’s facial oils contain no fillers and are formulated with only effective natural ingredients. They absorb easily to get moisture, vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants into your skin. Oh yeah, and everything from Herbivore Botanicals is  100% Natural. Everything they create contains absolutely no artificial ingredients, fillers, parabens, alcohol, animal ingredients, fragrances, sulfates, artificial colors, or unnatural preservatives. These facial oils contain oils that are cold pressed or steam distilled. Only the best! A rundown of each oil type:

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Dine LA: Gracias Madre Weho

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Three Course Dine LA Menu 

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It’s not always easy for us Westsiders to drive down to Hollywood during dinner hours, so we’ve made it a point to go during lunchtime. LA has so many food options to explore and my guy had never been to Gracias Madre, so when I saw it was a part of the Dine LA Restaurant Week we zipped down for the afternoon. Gracias Madre is an entirely plant-based and organic restaurant, that has become one of my personal favorites (listed in LA Faves back in May). We each chose something different for all three courses;

Starters: Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Cashew Crema, Toasted Pepitas | Gorditas, Warm Salsa Verde, Avocado, Cashew Crema

Entrees: Roasted root Vegetable Winter Empanadas with Kale, Tomato Habanero Jam, Cilantro Tamarind Chutney, Cumin Lentils | Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion, Pico, Guacamole, Black Beans

Dessert: Mexican Wedding cookies with Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream and Fudge | Fudge Brownie with Salted Mezcal Caramel, Coconut Bacon, and Orange Coconut Whipped Cream

Everything was fabulous, let me tell you, you won’t miss the meat or cheese!!! Their salsas, and cashew crema are kind of magical, and the flavor combinations don’t disappoint. The soup was on point, and the gordita may have been our favorite. I’m usually not a dessert person, but we were stunned by the Fudge Brownie with Salted Mezcal Caramel…out of this world. At $20 per person, you cant beat this deal. Dine LA ends This Sunday February 1st, so don’t miss out!

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Recipe from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

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This was the first recipe we made from Plenty More, the highly anticipated sequel to Ottolengi’s Plenty. Filled with vibrant vegetable centered dishes that are both simple and healthy, each and every page of the book is inspiring and mouth watering. We had difficulty choosing what would be the first attempt, and slowly paged through the whole book (save for the sweets section at the end) and bookmarked more than a few pages, deciding on this recipe featuring bright grape and cherry tomatoes highlighted by roasted lemon. I was intrigued to say the least, never having roasted lemons except with a whole roasted chicken, but Ottolenghi’s argument made sense, “Seek out the sweetest tomatoes you can find for this salad in order to balance the bitterness of the lemon.” He is the authority on these things, so it was settled. Following the recipe, but adding more mint and parsley than what is originally called for, we sliced, chopped, squeezed our way to an artful salad ripe with sweetness and tang. We brought the salad to our friends Caitlin and Dan’s house and everyone seemed to enjoy it, as we fittingly brunched outside under their lemon tree. After sitting for a bit, the tomatoes became macerated in their own juices, forming almost a chutney that could be paired well with chicken, or added to a grain bowl for color and acidity.

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Juice Cleanse Recap

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 Moon Juice | Moon Milk | Moon Juice Pantry | Zenbunni Chocolate

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Ok so it’s been two days since we finished “the cleanse,” and I’m feeling pretty damn good. I feel LIGHT. I’m energized. I feel like I’ve completed a goal, so if nothing else it’s boosted my self-confidence lol. But really, my body has had five days to reset itself, and it shows, but before we get down to results, I’ll give you the rundown of each day. Day one was well, not amazing. On the first day you’re coming to terms with the fact that you wont be eating for the next five days, so it’s really the most mental day. You’re coming down off the holidays, which is like the heroin of drugs am I right? You have to switch off your brain a little, stop looking in the fridge, and god forbid read the new issue of Bon Appetit. It’s time to be quiet. Read, drink tea, sit in the sun, contemplate, and internalize WHY you are really doing this. It’s going to help your body, it’s going to reset your metabolism, and it’s the mecca of willpower tests. Day two rolls around..Alright! We made it through one day, four more to go. This day isn’t fun. It’s hard. You might have a headache (which is totally normal), you may feel cold, and yes, you’re hungry, but you make it through. Day two and three are definitely the hardest. It’s day three…you are HANGRY. All of your wildest inner fat child cravings emerge. Pasta, pizza, something with a creamy dressing, oh maybe some sugar (remember this cleanse is basically sugar-free), and COFFEE. Give me my coffee. I always crave coffee the most on a cleanse. Let me tell you, if you can make it through three days of any cleanse, you can make it to 10 on the master-cleanse. THE FIRST THREE DAYS SUCK. But you know what? It’s all down hill from there. Day four-alright! You can do this. Feeling pretty good that you’re over the hump. Only today and tomorrow. Headache is gone, and your mind is clearing from the fog. Day five…success! So the results: I feel no bloat. Like I said, I feel lighter, I haven’t weighed myself, but everything feels just a little looser. Under eye circles, where have they gone?? Skin looks preeeeety good! One thing that was new for me on this cleanse was my nails. My nails have no more transparent spots where the white begans. They are white and feel STRONG. This must have been from all the chard and kale we drank. 20 lbs of veggies and nuts a day…that adds up to a total of 100 lbs for the entire cleanse. No wonder I’m feeling like super woman. SO,  now that its over, we’ve been really successful in not gorging ourselves on whatever we were dreaming about mid-cleanse. We made a huge pot of veggie soup, and have lots of things  to snack on around the house (organic peanut butter, nuts, rice cakes, apples). We are continuing the “dry-January” thing as well, so no wine here. I also really advocate for drinking a ton of tea. Green, Kukicha (really savory and satisfying), and Yogi Detox tea are some of my faves. I usually drink them without any added sweetener, but sometimes at night if Im craving dessert, I’ll add honey and coconut creamer. I have to say, I enjoyed Moon Juice’s green cleanse regimen, and I’ve loved Moon Juice since we moved to Venice. They have so many other juices, snacks, and pantry items that keep me coming back for more. I definitely recommend this to anyone, and if you aren’t in LA, then create your own juice cleanse regimen, its the best 5 days you can give your body.

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Snack Swap

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It’s Monday morning again and the question arises “What snacks do I bring for the work week ahead?” Do your body a favor and skip the soda and candy all together. There are so many yummy options to snack on that are healthier than their calorie filled counterparts. I’ve been loving Kevita’s sparkling probiotic drinks. If you aren’t a fan of kombucha, try this. I’ve found they are much lighter in flavor and have little to no sediment or weird pieces of “mother” (the source of fermentation for kombucha). At only 10 calories a bottle bc they use Stevia, you won’t be drinking your whole days worth of calories either (Im looking at you frappucinno). The coconut lime mojito and lemon cayenne are my two fave flavors. As for chips, try some Red Hot Blues, organic blue corn chips with a light dusting of cayenne, way better than Doritos. Sorry, I said it. Im also a fan of Kind Bars, especially the almond coconut flavor which tastes almost identical to an Almond Joy, and some Pirates Booty, a great option for a snack swap from Cheetos. As regulars at Cafe Gratitude Im surprised we didnt know about the “I am Cool” milkshake. It’s their version of a mint chocolate chip milkshake…and it TASTES BETTER!!! The “shake” is made with cashew coconut ice cream, fresh mint, Vitamineral Green powder, and raw cacao nibs. It’s seriously delicious.

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O’Neill X Go for the Gusto

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Donna Dress c/o O’Neill
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My perfect day? The pictures pretty much sum it up. Making the most of a California summer, cruising down to Malibu. Walking the pier, watching surfers catch waves, delicious lunch at Malibu Farm Cafe, ending at the beach. Of course doing this all with someone I love. Sun, sand, and good tunes, are my ultimate relaxation and idea of perfection. On that note, I’m happy to partner with O’Neill on their Today Is Perfect campaign. If you were wondering where to get the dress pictured, head on over to O’Neill Women’s site. This flowy bohemian dress is so comfortable and totally perfect for a day at the beach. The best part? YOU can enter to win your perfect day courtesy of O’Neill! Here’s how:

Snap a picture of you and/ or whatever consists of your perfect day and then…

-Follow O’Neill on Instagram, post your picture with the hashtag #TodayIsPerfect, and tag O’Neill Women

-Like them on Facebook and upload your picture there under the “Today is Perfect” section

-Follow them on Twitter, and tweeet your photo with the #TodayIsPerfect hashtag

-Upload your picture to their website The winner will receive $5,000 courtesy of O’Neill to fulfill their dream day!

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Herbed Yogurt Dip

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If you’re like me, mayo may scare you a little. And by a little, I mean terrify. Im not talking about the hand-crafted, delicious, garlicy spread better known as “aioli.” I m talking about that heavy, blue-labeled tub, filled with a slightly yellow, gelatinous substance attached to the slogan “Bring out the Hellmans, bring out the best.” I know I may sound like a sandwhich nazi, being the proponent of a mostly gluten-free diet, and mayo slanderer. But, I know there are a few anti-mayo rebels out there reading this who may appreciate what I am about to say. IT IS POSSIBLE TO CREATE RANCH DIP WITHOUT MAYO. There. I said it. Most decadent dip’s main ingredient is mayo, which is why spinach-artichoke, and any type of ranch dip, come with the heavy junk food stigma…pun intended. The recipe that follows is a thick, herby, creamy, dipping sauce worthy of the ranch genre, but conatins no mayo. how do I do this you ask?? One word…yogurt. Yogurt is the perfect substitute for mayo, yielding a tangy, equally as creamy dip, worthy of the football appetizer table. Yogurt has way less fat, and includes naturally occuring probiotics which keep your stomach healthy and happy. Mayo lovers and rebels alike, who are still reading this post, I challenge you to try this recipe. You won’t be dissapointed.

*Also great on baked potatoes
** Thin down with vinegar and oil for a salad dressing
***Add jalapenos & cilantro, blend with an immersion blender for spicy ranch dressing.

Ingredients:

Greek Yogurt-2 cups
Basil-1 1/2 tbs chopped
Dill-1 1/2 tbsp chopped
Chives-1 1/2 tbsp chopped
Garlic-6 toes minced
Shallot-1 tbsp minced
Lemon-1 tbsp juice
Soy-2 tsp
Salt-1 tsp
Pepper-1 tsp

Method:

Wash herbs thoroughly, dry well. Peel and mince both garlic and shallot. Add garlic to a small bowl, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt. Using the back of a spoon, rub salt into garlic until it forms a paste. In a large container add garlic paste and shallot to yogurt, mix well. Finely chop all herbs and incorporate into mixture. Add remaining salt, pepper lemon juice and soy to the bowl. Mix well and let sit in fridge overnight. Serve with crudites, I like roasted baby potatoes, cucumber, and French radishes.

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Giveaway: SIN-MIN

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We’re stoked to announce a SIN-MIN giveaway this week! SIN-MIN is a yummy horchata “lipspread” that is both buttery in texture and cinnamony in flavor. This lipspread is made form beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, vitamin E, secret horchata flavor extract, cinnamon, and honey..all the good stuff. AND its made right here in LA. The best part? Everything is organic! Awesome. All you have to do is leave a comment to enter, winners will be announced next week. Buena Suerte!

Find SIN-MIN @ Firefly on Abbot Kinney or The Golden State Store on Rose

***SIN-MIN cinnamon illustration, and pictures shown here by P. Witte

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LA Faves

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Alfred Coffee | Sin-Min Lip Spread | Moon Juice | Gracias Madre | Thyme Market and Cafe | Treats Yogurt & Ice Bar

We’ve been in LA for almost two months now and have definitely developed some favorites in our hood. It’s been so fun to explore around our new neighborhood and check out the hot spots. We’re walking distance to Rose and Abbot Kinney, so the shopping and dining possibilities are endless. I had been wandering around Rose one day and happened upon Golden State, the coolest little shop carrying only California made products, art, books (SIN-MIN, STANCE etc.). If you haven’t checked out this store, you must, and pick up some SIN-MIN Horchata Lipspread or find it on their website here. Its kind of amazing. There is a juicery around every corner in LA, but Moon Juice on Rose has become our favorite. Not only do they serve cold pressed juices here, but they have their own line of tonics, and carry local raw snacks, and chocolate. Oh and the baristas? Juicisistas? Are the nicest folks around! Two fave West Hollywood finds are Gracias Madre, 100% organic and vegan Mexican food, and Alfred Coffee. The outside ambience by the fountain at Gracias Madre is so relaxing you feel like you’re in Mexico. We had the Ensalada de Verduras, the “Bacon” Coconut Torta, and both the “Purista” and “Quinceanera” cocktails. I would highly recommend this spot to anyone…not just vegans. The price is right, and no snooty hostess here. Head down the road to Alfred Coffee to enjoy freshly brewed Stumptown Coffee and shop around Melrose. Santa Monica faves are Thyme Cafe and Market where I’ve been lunching with my friend Caitlin who works in the neighborhood. Last time we split the Kale and Fennel Salad with Pecorino, and the Bacon, Caramelized Onion, Apple, Gruyere Panini (w/ Sauv Blanc of course) which were both incredible. There is a multitude of freshly baked bread, pastries, and a huge deli carryout section filled with different sides and salads which are perfect for any night of the week. With the heat wave a couple of weeks ago, I sought out the best snow cone/ frozen yogurt I could find, and Treats Frozen Yogurt and Ice Bar seemed to be a popular choice. If you’re a shaved ice fanatic like I am, you have probably heard of “sour spray,” and let me tell you, Treats has it. Stay tuned for many more LA faves…

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