The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Annie Leonard’s The Story of Cosmetics August 5, 2010

Filed under: activism,Products — Alden @ 8:09 pm
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For a Green Apartment in NYC – Check out Green Depot August 4, 2010

After my lovely farmers market cooking class on Sunday, I had the afternoon to waste and it occurred to me it was a perfect opportunity to check out the Green Depot.

And…. there goes my budget for the month. How could I get so excited about a place that sells paint, cleaning supplies, building supplies, and baby stuff? I don’t know, but I did.

I needed to figure out why I keep killing my herbs, so I bought a guide called Organic Crops in Pots. I wanted to learn more about running our itty-bitty household in a green way, so I bought make your place, an adorable, bite-size, hand-written treasure trove of recipes for face-wash, cleaners, salves, and even natural pain relief. I wanted to find a better way to mark my herbs (once I succeed in raising them) than plastic spoons, so I bought adorable up-cycled markers made from vintage silverware. I wanted to be able to keep the outlet in my room off as much as possible, save energy, and get off the coal-powered grid just a little bit, so I bought a solar-powered battery pack that will charge up during the day, and charge up my phone at night as I sleep. I wanted to figure out what to do about my brand new organic white sheets, which are rapidly becoming a casualty of hot NYC nights. (Read: I sweat a lot. TMI? Whatever.) so I bought Oxy-boost for my laundry, in lieu of bleach. I wanted to tackle our pre-war bathroom without using that caustic stuff, Comet, so I had a long discussion with Patricia and she recommended Green Depot’s own bathroom cleaner, whose bottle I can refill over and over because they have it “on tap.” Finally, I wanted to figure out what to do about all the food scraps we toss in the garbage every week. So I picked up a guide to composting in NYC, and will be carefully considering my options in the next month. (Compost in the apartment? Drop it off at a garden? Give up?) In case I decide to go forward with it, they have the most classic and un-hippie-like compost pales in silver and white.

I walked away with a $147 bill, I’m not kidding. The most expensive item by far was the solar-powered charger, at $55. Was it worth it? Ehhhh, maybe. If I turn off my electricity except when I’m running the air conditioning or my hair dryer, I could probably make up the difference within a few months. Also, it’s just cool.

When I left, I walked west from Green Depot’s spot on Bowery, and found myself smack dab in the middle of the Soho shopping district, where every store front is filled with dresses, purses, and shoes. “Don’t look don’t look don’t look don’t look,” I told myself. “Just make it through without stepping in a store.”

I made it through ok. But what does it say about my priorities that I will pay $150 for herb-growing supplies, solar powered chargers, and green cleaning supplies, but not a cute dress? (Which, by the way, I have far too many of.) I think it says my priorities are firmly in the right place.


OMG OMG I’m Famous! July 15, 2010

If you are a netizen, then I think you might have seen the barrage of hillaaaarious commercials coming from Old Spice. Well guess what my friends, my and the Old Spice Man are like this. (Crossed fingers.)

Here’s my original tweets, by the way:

Does the @oldspice guy’s vocal cords get tired from talking like that in like, a bajillion commercials?? My god.

Seriously, my throat hurts from just listening to him:

I know, right?? How exciting is that? They’ve been blitzing the internet, responding to tweets and YouTube comments within hours. But then my bubble got popped. Check it:

Ingredients in it are linked to cancer and may harm the brain, and, yes, the reproductive system. The ingredients in that product can lead to infertility, reproductive organ cancers, and birth defects. Doesn’t sound so manly to me.

[via Grist]

Ouch dude. I make fun of Mike enough for using Axe (comon babe, that’s for teenagers) but now I know that Old Spice will make my baby less of a man? No way. I don’t want him to smell like the man my man could smell like. Wait, what?

In summary, thanks for the entertainment and the shout out Old Spice, but I’ll pass on buying your product for MY man.


Overhauling My Beauty Routine July 11, 2010

This post is about cancer sticks.

No, not cigarettes. Yup, there’s a different type of cancer stick, and you just don’t know it yet. It’s your mascara, your lipstick, your chapstick….. From EcoSalon:

To date, the EU has banned 1,100 chemicals in cosmetics; the Food and Drug Administration in America has banned only ten. In fact, Cover Girl waterproof mascara contains the same ingredient (petroleum distillates, an oil by-product) as Dr. Scholl’s Wart Remover—both of which are illegal in Europe…. When I realized that many of the chemicals banned in the EU—but found in FDA-approved beauty products—cause cancer, birth defects, genetic mutation, and organ damage, I wondered: why is our regulation system so different from (and, dare I say, less effectual than) that of our European neighbors?

(Read more here)

More and more people are ascribing to the beauty mantra, “I only put on my skin what I can eat.” After all, you’re not a barbie doll. Your skin absorbs whatever you put on it. So when you smooth lipstick with mercury on your lips or put hair products with formaldehyde in your hair, that’s going to end up in your system. With how absorbent ourAztec Secret Mud, Almond Oil, Pangea Organic face products, pure aloe gel, coconut oil, burts bees chapstick, skin is, why even put petroleum products (Vaseline) or other crazy ingredients on it. Would you eat Vaseline? No. (Unless you’re a beauty queen who smears it on her teeth. If so, you are beyond help sister.)

Scary stuff right? I know I run the risk of sounding a little paranoid, but don’t worry, you can still look beautiful without setting yourself up for some serious medical bills later on. As an advertising person myself, I can tell you most commercials with pretty molecules spinning around on the screen are a really far stretch of the imagination. Has your hair every REALLY looked less frizzy after using that super fancy Pantene Pro-V? Thought so.

Start at the Natural Homemade Beauty blog. It might seem a little bizarre that you can get the same effects from simple stuff like coconut oil, lemon, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, almond oil, and other things you seem more commonly in the kitchen, but it’s totally true! I can attest from personal experience that the tips on her blog has reduced my breakouts and made my skin silky and smooth. And there’s scientific evidence to prove it. Here’s what I’ve overhauled in the past year in my beauty routine:

  • Replaced my foamy pink shave lotion with olive oil. Smoothest. Legs. Ever. Plus it’s cheap and creates less waste.
  • Threw out my Proactiv and bought Pangea Organics. I augment that with weekly facial masks of Aztec Secret mud masks. I’m broken out at the moment, but I attribute that to too much sugar, as usual, and missing my weekly mud mask.
  • Got rid of my fancy lotion and started using coconut oil. I smell really good.
  • Replaced my mascara and eyeliners with brands from Whole Foods.
  • Stopped shelling out for fancy Trish McEvoy makeup and got Bare Minerals instead.
  • Got normal, everyday organic shampoo and conditioner. I tried the no ‘poo method here but it didn’t work because I have insanely thick hair. But even though I don’t have a shampoo that is specially formulated for thick, brown-with-highlights, sorta wavy, 20-something hair, my hair is still silky and shiny.
  • Stopped using gooey $1 lip gloss and started using tinted Burt’s Bees lip stuff .
  • Replaced my deodorant with Avalon Organics spray and Tom’s of Maine Crystal Deodorant. I switch off between the two, but so far both work great.

In summary? I smell delicious, I look at least as good as I did a year ago if not better, I’m creating less waste, spending less money, and taking proactive steps to limit my exposure to carcinogens and other nasty stuff. That’s a win.


Update: Got that Organic Bedding! July 2, 2010

Filed under: Apartment,Products — Alden @ 4:11 pm
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Remember when I was trying to decide whether to get that new organic bedding? Well, I got it, and it looks adorable. (Patting myself on the back.)


Get These Sunglasses! July 1, 2010

Needing a new pair of sunglasses, I decided I wanted to splurge on some high quality frames that are – what else – sustainably made. I thought I remembered seeing some cool bamboo frames, so I searched around on the internet, a search which yielded me these:

Kayu Sunglasses in Gaya style

Adorable, right? Here’s their creds (from creator Jamie Lim):

With each collection, I strive to keep our core principles of craftsmanship, ecology, and ethics in mind. All our products are handmade and feature natural materials. In addition, we remain committed to bettering the community by sponsoring one sight-restoring surgery for every pair of glasses sold…

Other creds?

  • Natural, renewable, sustainably sourced materials
  • Handcrafted by indigenous artisans in China, the Philippines, and Cebu (wherever that is…)

Can’t argue with that! I got myself a pair, and have been sporting them around the city and to the beach with pride.

wearing Kayu sunglasses More importantly, everyone LOVES these sunglasses. I get a compliment every time I wear them. Every. Single. Time. Last night I slipped them on to go up to the roof at work for drinks, and the creatives were absolutely obsessed. One Williamsburgian ended up outdoing me with his over-sized vintage frames, but he still seemed disappointed that Kayu only makes sunglasses for women. When your sunglasses help you network, you know they’re good.

They have a bunch of other styles, and (I just found this out and I’m so pumped!) they have adorable clutches too in materials like straw with turquoise snaps, shell, and mother of pearl. Kayu has a Toms-like thing going, donating a backpack and school supplies to kids in developing nations for every clutch sold.

They retail for about $180, which is a little steep, yes. But if I can just manage to hold on to this for more than a summer, I’ll consider it a great investment. Much better than the $5 plastic things I got off a street vendor last year….

[Update: In response to my post, Kayu has posted a pic on their website of a very suave-looking guy wearing their glasses… not bad!]


Green Grocery Shopping June 1, 2010

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now to bring reusable bags to the grocery store. But what about produce? I always feel a pang of guilt whenever I rip a little plastic bag off of a roll at the grocery store just so I can stuff organic kale in it.

No more! These babies are getting tucked inside my large reusable grocery bag so I can break free of the plastic bag habit completely. I really will feel chic toting my produce around in such nice looking bags.