We made it you guys! Another year, another election, a non-mageddon, and a whole lot of clean beauty. :) Don’t know about you, but we’re feeling pretty excited about what 2013 holds—and not because we’re wearing rose-colored glasses. This life stuff continues to be hard, but we’re of the mind that the more you work through your crap, with each passing year, the more rewarding the challenges become.

Anyways, on my very long drive back from Utah, where I spent the Christmas holiday, I listened to a lengthy (and kind of boring) interview about New Year’s resolutions. It turns out something like 46% of them actually stick, and that when you take the time to make a resolution on a chosen day (it doesn’t have to be New Year’s), it has a way better chance of surviving than just having an intention to make a change.

According to the piece, certain things really help make a resolution real. First off, you have to be serious about and truly ready for the resolution. It’s better if the resolution is clear and measurable, ie. instead of saying, “this year I’m going to be a better friend,” you say something more specific like, “this year I’m going to make an effort to call my close friends at least once a month” or whatever it may be. The buddy system seems to help too, or some kind of accountability to someone (your bud doesn’t need to have the same resolution as you). The expert also says that most people usually slip up pretty early in the game, but as long as you don’t let the slip be a fall, you’ll be fine. Last but not least, it’s important not to make too many resolutions at once—one is best, but two can work if they’re compatible.

Keeping all of this in mind, I am going to share my resolution for the year with you guys. Siobhan and Rebecca will share theirs in the comments, and we hope you tell us yours as well! That way we can all be accountable to each other here.

My resolution for 2013 is to become an intuitive eater. The good news there is that I’ve already started this practice! But I want to make sure it sticks for, well, my whole life. What do I mean by intuitive eating? I might have to save some of it for a longer post, but for most of my life I’ve been a pretty restricted eater in some way or another. While on the surface, this appeared to be very healthy—and was often done in the name of health—I’ve finally acknowledged to myself that it’s an obsessive type of behavior that has more to do with control than health. Some of the tenets of intuitive eating are: Eating when you’re hungry. Asking yourself what you truly want to eat instead of eating what you think you should eat. Stopping when you’re full, even if that means there’s still food on your plate. Not using food as a reward (or a punishment). Not really thinking about food unless you’re actually hungry—I come from a family that plans dinner before breakfast is even finished!—and so on. This book on intuitive eating has been really helpful to me, so if any of you feel a bit out of touch with your natural rhythms when it comes to food, I highly recommend it!

I have other intentions for this year, too, like being a better listener, and nurturing my spiritual practice. But as some of you surely know, the obsessive day-to-day stuff really detracts from the higher-self goals. So that’s where I’m gonna focus my energies for now.

Can’t wait to hear what you have planned for 2013. Happy New Year everyone!!!


Natural Allergy Remedies Anyone?

Holy allergy season Batman.

I’ve never had allergies until this year, but before you think I’m on some random non-beauty tangent… I beg differ! Incessant sneezing, red eyes, and a runny nose are all very real beauty problems. Not to mention that allergies feel like crap!

Word is they’re getting worse with climate change—something about a longer growing season, more pollination and something something. To boot, according to this NPR piece, pollen got going even earlier this year in LA, which may explain why I’ve felt like I have a cold for two months. A cold that mysteriously appears and disappears over the course of the day.

Another reason more people are suffering from allergies? We’re too clean and our immune systems are suffering for it.

I’m pretty sure that’s not my problem though: As many of you know we’re big proponents of being a little dirty (and skipping the soap sometimes). Whatever the cause, everyone seems to be suffering. Which has got me thinking about possible natural remedies.

Some quick googling lead me to peppermint tea, face steaming, and reminders to wash your pets. Oh, and don’t smoke if you have allergies, you guys. Real remedy gold here.

The Neti Pot was also mentioned on NPR as a good natural way to combat the achoos. It’s a tiny little pot that let’s you poor water through your nasal passage, known more formally as nasal irrigation. This apparently clears our allergens, which sounds like an awesome plan.

I tried a Neti pot once in ashram in India. I know, I’m embarrassed for me too. Anyways, it felt super weird, but I’d totally do it if it works.

Have you tried the Neti Pot? Know of any other good natural allergy remedies?

Yesterday morning, listening to NPR in my car, I heard this interesting piece on Morning Edition about bug repellent—not something most of us think about on the regular, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it should be. Not only are bug bites annoying, they can carry with them things like Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

According to Marc Dolan of the CDC’s vector-borne infectious diseases laboratory, there’s a reason why most people don’t wear bug repellent. From the piece:

“People really dislike a lot of the repellents available now,” Dolan says. “They don’t like the odor they have, they don’t like the greasy feel they give. And a lot of people are just concerned about putting man-made chemicals on their skin.”

Amen to that: I’d have a pretty hard time slathering on the DEET knowing what I do now. So the CDC is putting their efforts into developing natural alternatives made from a chemical called nootkatone, which is found both in grapefruit and Alaskan cedar. The smell is citrus-y, and most of us have consumed this stuff in our grapefruit juice already.

But here’s where things get really interesting: While nootkatone is entirely non-toxic to humans and extremely effective at repelling insects, it also kills bugs by blocking their octopamine receptors. According to Dolan this makes them hyperactive and the bugs vibrate themselves to death. Putting that image aside for a moment, that means that nootkatone may have potential as an environmentally friendly pesticide. Pretty cool.

When’s the last time you used insect repellent? Or maybe you use it on your kids. Siobhan likes a natural one called Buzz Away Extreme. Do you have one you like?

Image via


I Miss the Salon

It’s true. It’s not that I went all that often, but going to get your nails or hair done with a girlfriend is nothing short of heaven, am I right? If you’ve read the book you probably know that that’s what got Siobhan and me in trouble in the first place.

Last time we were together in New York we went with our friend Anna, a real green beauty, for supposedly nontoxic manis. Well, the whole experience was a huge letdown. Not only were they not clean—they carried Essie and Chanel, and the polish remover was certainly not Suncoat—they were terrible! In Los Angeles I sometimes treat myself to a manicure at Recess, a luxey green nail spa on Beverly. The prices leave me gasping for air (but at least it’s not fumes I’m choking on).

Anyway, I was rather excited to discover via NPR that there’s a new clean hair and nail salon in Los Feliz, my usual stomping ground. I’ll have to report back once I’ve gone, but not only are Primrose Organics’ prices reasonable, it looks like they use John Masters products for the hair care. Hello!

I know we’ve asked you ladies a lot this week but if you love a clean salon in your area, please share. We only have each other for guidance!

Image via Life Magazine


Listen to Us Talk Shop on NPR’s Lopate Show

We went on the Leonard Lopate Show today to talk with Julie Burstein about our book No More Dirty Looks. Julie had great questions for us, as did those who called in. We’re thrilled to see the number of comments on WNYC’s web site, and would have loved to answer each and every question or comment (especially the one from “Jeb in Brooklyn”).

Questions from listeners included: What’s the deal with mineral makeup? What’s so bad about deodorant? What’s DMDM-hydantoin and why is it in my shampoo? And then something about oils from animal carcasses.

You can listen to the whole shebang here. May we suggest you put on some tea or make yourself a snack? It’s 40 minutes long.