Fired Up about Safe Cosmetics!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Here at Chic & Green, we have spoken on many occasions about cosmetics safety regulations (or lack thereof) and the Safe Cosmetics Act (of 2010 and 2011). If you've missed it, this week has been busy on Capitol Hill. Big things are potentially on the horizon and it may not be in our best interests if some members of the Old Boys' Network have their way. Rep. Jan Schakowsky introduced a bill that would make it so the FDA has much more authority to regulate cosmetics. In case you're unaware, cosmetics actually are not regulated in this country. The FDA does not have any authority to recall cosmetic products or regulate their ingredients. The Europen Union, though, has been regulating cosmetics for years and has been able to identify well over 1,000 harmful substances that aren't allowed in formulation.

For the first time in more than 30 years, this would allow the FDA to ban products whose ingredients are linked to cancer and birth defects. Unfortunately, the cosmetics industry is more about making dollars than making sense. Doesn't it make sense to STOP making products that could one day give your son testicular cancer? Doesn't it make sense to STOP making deodroants with ingredients linked to Alzheimer's Disease and breast cancer? Doesn't it make sense to STOP companies from putting lead in lipstick or formaldehyde in hair products and nail polish? How about making it so the mall bath & body shop won't be able to see your family hand wash with toxic triclosan?   It sure makes sense to me!

So what's the hold up? Why doesn't the FDA regulate this industry?  It's because the cosmetics industry is a HUGE, always growing money maker.  When I say money making, we are talking in the neighborhood of $60 billion per year. 

So flawed is this system that a company could put rat poison or cyanide in your skin cream and be under no legal obligation to report it to the FDA. The FDA also wouldn't be legally able to pull such a product from the shelves.

Suzy Lotion Maker could be making inadequately preserved cococtions in unsterilized containers with no true knowledge of formulation or skin care and be making steady sales on Etsy. Again, no regulation.

What will it take to cause real change?  Mercury has already been found in skin creams and formaldehyde is in Brazilian Blowouts and nail polishes.

The industry is full of big guns who do not want their profits to dip.  They don't want to have to spend more money changing formulas and researching safer options when people have been padding their wallets for decade.

On Capitol Hill, it is sad to say that of the invited speakers, only ONE was not an industry rep. The numbers should have been equal to make things fair.

Testifying today was a man named Dr. Gilbert Ross, a man who lost his medical license and spent a year in Federal prison because he defrauded the Medicaid program in New York out of $8 million. His job is basically to testify for the good old boys and earn money for doing so. Read more here. Someone like him could ultimately help determine whether we can have safe cosmetics in the United States.

I am not an alarmist. I tend to err on the side of caution, but like to base my decisions on proven science as well as the latest studies. I am a cautious consumer. I am more middle of the road than many.  I realize why preservatives are so necessary in cosmetics and skin care formulas and will spend more money on products with safe ingredients. I'm middle of the road though--I don't believe that my cell phone will kill me and I do believe in vaccinating my children and I'll eat an occasional "bad" food not grown organically if the spirit moves me.

That said, this issue is CRITICAL. We should all be demanding safe products.

What can you do?

You can read more from me about this subject here:

You can go here to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.

Solar, anyone?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This is a great infographic! Click to read more and zoom in.

Ingredient Spotlight: Dead Sea Salts

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dead Sea Salts are beneficial to the skin in so many ways.  I have talked about them before, but I am finding that I enjoy products formulated with them more and more.

First of all, let's talk a bit about what Dead Sea Salts are.  Dead Sea Salts are salts from the Dead Sea.  They are not your typical salt.  The salt in the Dead Sea is actually less than 3% sodium chloride.  Salt found in the saltwater in the oceans is composed of 97% sodium chloride.  The salts in the Dead Sea are beneficial because they contain high amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, bromide, and more.  This high mineral content is of great benefit to the skin. These minerals from the Dead Sea attract water, so your skin will be able to stay hydrated and nourished.

In fact, tourists from all over the world visit the Dead Sea to reap the many benefits of the minerals in the salts.

When it comes to skin care and hair care, Dead Sea Salts can:

*Help to relieve body acne
*Help to relieve psoriasis (In fact, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends this)
*Reduce inflammation
*Increase skin hydration
*Help stimulate hair regrowth
*Help to alleviate dandruff
*Restore shine and healthy look to the hair

Chic & Green Tried & Tested Products with Dead Sea Salts:

Dead Sea Prodcucts

Original Moxie Get Fresh Shampoo
Original Moxie  Featherweight Conditioner
Original Moxie Piece-nik Styling Paste
Ahava Softening Butter Salt Scrub
Sabon Rose Bath Salts
Shea Terra Organics Pink Guava & Pomegranate Sea Salt Scrub
Body & Soul Restorations Parched Bath Soak
Anthropologie Volta Organics Bath Salts in Flowers & Oatmeal

It is important for you to read the ingredients listings, though, when you are purchasing Dead Sea Salt products.  The labels will specifically say "dead sea salt (or salts)" on the label. I have seen several "natural" products claiming to be Dead Sea Salt products only to have the label say "sodium chloride". So buyer beware.

The Bathroom Makeover

Monday, March 26, 2012

I planned to start and finish this project back before the holidays, but ended up waiting until Tom was done with a big project at work. He still had vacation time left over from 2011 and has been enjoying some time off, so we tackled the upstairs bath re-do last week.

First of all, I've done lots of thrifty room makeovers since we've moved in. This bathroom, though, was beyond a couple coats of paint and new window treatments for a makeover.

This was a traditional 50's salmon/pink/peach bathroom. In fact, I called it the Salmon Explosion. The walls were tiled more than half way up with this tile. The floor had a tile with salmon and brown. It was just awful. You can see it below--note, the bottom picture was taken after Tom removed the salmon toilet and sink.

When we moved in, there was wallpaper with seashells that I removed, but otherwise the room was pretty much untouched for the 7.5 years we have been here. Tom did put in a shower surround a few months back so that is white and we don't have to see that ugly tile :)

For my bath project, I wanted to take it to a more modern look, but still have vintage charm and a quaint, cottage vibe.

I think this was accomplished:

#1 -- I primed and painted the walls. The color I chose is called Secluded Guestroom. It's a gorgeous blue by Walmart ColorPlace, which we had color matched in Behr Semigloss at Home Depot.

#2 -- We put down a new black and white checked floor. LOVE!

#3--We sanded down the tile and then put wainscoting (horizontally) and adhered it to the tile covered portion of the wall. Then we applied the chair rail and baseboards. I painted these white. I originally planned to do traditional wainscoting which has vertical boards. I saw a picture online with horizontal plans and decided to hang our this way as well.

#4 -- Tom put in the new toilet and pedestal sink. The new faucet went in too.

#5 -- Tom drilled holes for the new toilet paper holder and towel rings. I hung them up--they were an awesome deal on Kohler for a great buy!

The color inspiration? Actually, it was a scarf I bought from my friend Tanvi at Peppermint. When I saw it hanging in my closet, I knew I wanted to add it to tie in some blue and red. I need to take more pictures, but I also have a little red bucket style metal trash can and a couple other red touches added to the blue and white. I'm actually using the scarf right now on the little table in there.

I found Ty Pennington shower curtain hooks on the 75% clearance at Sears. They cost me $3.74. The shower curtain was less than $10 on clearance, too! I bought these back in November at the Irondequoit location.

It took us from Monday through Wednesday working almost all day last week while the kiddos were at school, but it was so worth it. Did I mention that our DIY re-do was less than $500 for everything? Not too shabby! If you have a project that isn't this thrifty, there are options.  You can save money for home improvement projects with a mortgage refinance.

Next project--tackled! Today, Tom cleared out the downstairs coat closet. It's now a little home office for moi. I'll take pictures this week for you to see!

Etsy Love

Friday, March 23, 2012

etsy infographic

I started my former skin care business on Etsy. That is how the beauty editors at Martha Stewart Body + Soul found me. 

My jewelry line is on Etsy. Stop by and save 20% with code MARCH.

Some favorite woman-owned Etsy shops:

Do you have Moxie?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I am so, so excited today! No, it is not just because we are 95% done with the upstairs bath re-do (photos tomorrow, readers!)-- it is because my most favorite hair care brand EVER is now available for sale through my alex + von boutique! As you know, I joined alex + von in August 2011 so I would be able to sell natural skin care brands I adore, more specifically, 100% Pure. The brands currently offered by this social selling brand include 100% Pure, Suki, and WeeDecor. Now, we add Original Moxie to the list!

If you've been reading C & G regularly, you know I've been passionate about  Original Moxie products since I first reviewed them last winter. I love the brand so much that I recommended the products to Sonia and Silvia, the founders of alex + von. Now it is official! This is exciting for me because I have been working behind the scenes with Sonia from alex + von and Rachel from Original Moxie as the Original Moxie Guru for alex + von, helping with the launch and training. It has been an amazing, busy, and super exciting experience to see all that is involved in this process.

So today is the big day and Original Moxie products are now available. I have to tell you that I can treat my hair poorly at times.  I am a hair abuser.  I highlight it, blow dry it daily, and flat iron daily as well.  Some days I use the curling iron for waves. Original Moxie has saved my hair and kept it shiny and healthy. Original Moxie is owned by Rachel Blistein and is based in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It's an eco-conscious and socially responsible brand and is based with natural ingredients and essential oils. The products are fabulous.

My most favorites are Get Fresh Shampoo, Featherweight, and Straight Up. By the way, the styling aids are REALLY a great value. I have had the same Straight Up for a year and it is not gone yet!

To celebrate the launch, I am giving ALL customers who spend $75 or more in Original  Moxie products a $10 e-gift card now through the end of the month!

My reviews on Original Moxie: here
Thoughts on Original Moxie Intense Quench: here

Thrifty & Fabulous: Nerdery!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You may have noticed, nerd love is all the rage. 

Like moustaches...which, I admit, is a trend I just don't get. 


I have blogged about it before in a post simply called "I Heart Nerds."

I was even in a musical celebrating smart and funny nerd humor, "Tom Foolery", written by a smart and funny nerd named Tom Lehrer.  And, while I am anti-pocket protector, I do love me some Wayfarer frames.

When it comes to decorating? I love it there, too. There was a picture I found on Pinterest once that I totally fell for. 

I followed every link possible hoping to land somewhere I might be able to buy it, to no avail. Here she is:

My solution? Attempt my own version. 

My friend, Dan, took some promotional photos for "Tom Foolery" last Fall and shared them with me. 

I just finally got around to printing them out on some basic printer paper and put them in plain black frames I happened to already have. 

In other words: it was all free. Hence, thrifty.

I saw the end product in my mind. Some in color. Some in black and white. Some small. Some larger. A grouping of three.

And I like it! I think I might even love it!
They are graphic and kitschy and quirky.
I put them up on the shelf yesterday and, at least for now, they make me smile...

So, there they'll stay!

Spring Styles at Infinity Shoes

Monday, March 19, 2012

These unseasonably warm temps in upstate New York have me thinking earlier than normal about spring fashion.  From florals to polka dots to nautical looks, I'm finding lots of cute things for the warm days ahead.

It's really lovely to actually have sunny and warm weather for the first day of spring tomorrow! I typically am trudging through the snow on the first day of spring, but I'll probably be in capris and sandals in the morning.

I can sometimes fall into the "rut" of wearing lots of black and gray, but I am determined to embrace the season's bright shades.  I'm really happy to see the fuchsia, turquoise, yellows, and more on the racks right now.  Although something extra bright may be a bit outside of my comfort zone, I'll gladly go bolder with my shoes.

I've been spending a bit of spare time in the evening browsing for spring finds and am really excited about the selection of shoes at Infinity Shoes.

The brights are stellar on their site and I found some lovely miz mooz pumps, ballet flats, sandals and more that are really fresh for spring. The coral flats above would really complement this season's nauticals. I am really loving coral and navy and almost everyone can wear this combo.

I also love, love the minty green sandals below.  They would add that special pop of color to neutrals!

Are florals more your style? How adorable are these below?  They're flirty, feminine, and would look beautiful flowing skirts, maxi dresses & more.

Check out Infinity Shoes today and let me know what catches your eye. Flats? Handbags?  Sandals?  You'll have lots of fun browsing and adding to your spring wish list.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however, this in no way impacts the tone of my post.

Tiny Break

Hello lovelies! I shall return tomorrow. Today is the start of our DIY bathroom project upstairs. I just put on the second coat of paint and we're deciding what to do next. We also have to go get the pedestal sink today (the new toilet is already here) and paint some wainscoting. Back later on!

Have a wonderful day!!!

8 Bits of Randomness

Friday, March 16, 2012

1. I am totally hooked--absolutely hooked--on Dropwords, a fantabulous Android app. I cannot stop playing. It became even more exciting when my hubby told me he planned to beat my high score.  If you know me at all, you know that it would really get my britches in a knot if he were to do that! So practice, I must!

2. Because of #1, I am spending less of my free time on Pinterest. However, I am still really enjoying pinning and looking at other pins.

3.  Speaking of Pinterest, I am oh so tempted to make this drink I found-- a Guiness float made with coffee ice cream, salty peanuts, and chocolate syrup. It could be gross or it could be insanely good. I'll let you know after the weekend.

4. Speaking of the weekend--weather is super warm + St. Patrick's Day on a Saturday + date night tomorrow = a fun weekend ahead! I cannot wait!

5.  Yesterday, I told you about my K-Cup love....speaking of that, I just ordered  Green Mountain Nantucket Blend. I'm eager to try this one--I've had it in a ground coffee for my old coffee maker, but never in K-Cup form.

6.  I'm feeling really lazy today. I have work I should be doing, but I might just sit on rear and read my new Country Living...would that be so bad?

7. I just made my favorite sandwich from childhood-- an egg salad with olive on whole wheat. Yum! I'm going to have some blackberries and a few almonds and call it a late lunch.

8. A very guilty pleasure of mine? The "Real Housewives of Orange County".... I know, I know. I just cannot help myself. Maybe I'll watch the episode I have on DVR while I enjoy my egg salad :)

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!

Is Your Face Clean?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is it?  I mean, truly clean?  Chances are, your skin is playing host to some uninvited bacteria due to an ineffective cleansing routine. Today, I'll share some tips on how to really get your skin clean.  Clean skin will not only help to prevent breakouts, but it also will help your skin care products to be more effective.  The ingredients in your products will sink in and work more effectively if your skin's surface is clean and pores are free of bacteria and debris.

More often than not, traces of debris and makeup are left behind--with a couple simple steps, though, you can get your face nice & clean!  Once upon a time, I thought my skin was super clean. I'm a skin care fanatic, after all.  Then I bought white bed linens.  What an eye opener to see that there was makeup left behind.  No more!

Chic & Green's Tips on How to Effectively Cleanse Your Skin:

I think this is just ingenious.  It's from One Love Organics and it is called My New Best Friend Skin Shammy. For $24 you get two high quality microfiber cloths that will help you effectively clean your skin.  These are made from dermatologist quality microfiber and they work to cleanse and gently exfoliate at the same time. Your typical washcloth is quite abrasive.  I never advise using one to wash your face. If you have to, a baby washcloth is best.  This shammy, though, will help to catch oil, daily grime, and other environmental particles. When you simply cleanse, you often leave some of these things behind even though you can't necessarily see them with your naked eye.  Leaving behind bacteria and grime and other things will do a number on your skin over time, though.

If your skin isn't clean, you are giving those nasties the perfect chance to build up and wreak havoc on your skin.  If you want a gentle deep clean, I'd start with one of these.  There really is no need to spend lots of money on skin care gizmos like a Clarisonic to get a through cleansing.  Sometimes simpler really is better!

What I recommend is to use the Oil Cleansing Method we have talked about here before.  If you used to shop from my own line that I had, you'll remember my Facial Cleansing Oil. Here is a recipe for a DIY facial oil that you can make.  This will help draw out any impurities.

Then follow with a gentle facial cleanser. Last week, I told you about our favorite facial cleansers. All are gentle and have really lovely ingredients.  Right now, I am using the Acure Organics Facial Gel Superfruit & Chlorella Growth Factor because my skin has been much less dry than it usually is for "winter".  Any gentle, natural cleanser from the list will do.

Apply a bit of cleanser to your skin or to the My New Best Friend Shammy, and gently massage your skin. The gentle fibers in the microfiber will help lift away the impurities and provide you with a thorough (but not harsh) cleansing.

Be sure not to use hot water when you cleanse.  Cool to lukewarm is best.

If you'd like to, follow with a gentle facial toner without alcohol.  Right now, I am using 100% Pure Brightening Tonique.

Just try these steps and wait until you see the difference in your skin.  It may seem like such a simple routine, but by following it, you'll really notice how your treatment products are more effective on truly clean, fresh skin.

I did it...

for coffee post...

I've been on the fence when it comes to the whole K-cup bandwagon for over a year now. If you know me in real life, you know that I am fueled by coffee. I wish I could say that the sunshine, chirping birds, and a nice early morning walk get me going. In many ways they do, but when it comes to my general morning mood, I need that coffee. There are some mornings when I can be a bit of a grump because I'm much more of a night owl, but when I have my morning coffee, I am a different person.

On a serious note, I would call myself a coffee addict. Oh sure, I have gone without caffeine. The moment I found out I was pregnant with both boys, I quit the caffeine cold turkey and easily switched to decaf. However, I feel I need my coffee now.  I've tried switching just to green tea or the "coffee alternatives" out there.  It's not there same. It could be worse.  I could be addicted to tobacco, cocaine or vodka...far worse alternatives than my cup of java  multiple cups of coffee each day.

My neighbor bought a Keurig last year. At first I wasn't so impressed. I think it's because I chose the wrong cup size when I made my coffee and I also wasn't in love with the flavor I chose.  I soon began looking forward to heading next door even more than normal. I typically savor my quiet time during the day, sans kids (you know I love them, I just enjoy peace & quiet from time to time as well).  I remember Joey (my friend/neighbor) asking me if I could watch her boys (2 and 4) for a couple hours and I actually was eager to go babysit 2 other little boys and a jumping yippy dog because I knew I would also be trying new K-Cup flavors. I then started thinking about getting one of my own.

At first I couldn't justify it--I have a great Cuisinart coffee maker with lots of bells and whistles. If I hadn't found it at a thrift shop in like new condition for less than $10 (for one that retails for over $100), I wouldn't have made the Keurig purchase.

My justifications--

*I am the sole coffee drinker here. I will make coffee and sometimes I end up throwing what's left in the carafe out = wasting money and coffee.

*When I make coffee, it is sometimes good, but sometimes terrible. If I get a new brand, sometimes I will follow the directions and get too weak/too strong of a pot and then that = wasted coffee/wasted money again.

*Sometimes I just want a cup of flavored.  Other times I just want a cup of decaf.  My moods change often when it comes to coffee at home.

*When we have company, some guests want decaf only.  Some want weak coffee. Some want extra strong. Some like flavored.  Some don't. Someone is always left unhappy....

*I love using my French Press for coffee, but it is time consuming and very impractical for company.

About a month or so ago, I finally did it.  I decided to buy a Keurig.  I chose the Keurig Elite Brewing System. What a great decision for me! Now when people come over, I am not a slave to brewing other pots quickly that suit my guests' preferences.  With my Keurig, I can make a Jamaica Me Crazy for myself and a few seconds later, I can be giving my mom a decaf.  Some mornings I wake up wanting a Cinnamon Bun flavored coffee.  This morning, I wanted Kahlua coffee.

I was concerned about the expense at first.  Being a coffee-holic means I go through lots of coffee.  I have found that despite buying K-Cups pretty regularly, I am going through the drive thru at a local coffee shop one less time every afternoon. I still go to see my friends in the morning, but I am saving $1.67 per afternoon five days a week by not driving through for my afternoon caffeine jolt or on Sundays either.  That means I am saving $10.02 per week on 6 medium coffees.

I am also not picking up fun flavored gourmet coffees every time I go to Marshalls or TJ Maxx to bring home.  I don't need to buy anything other than K-Cups. Even if I make a quick K-Cup pick up at Walmart instead of ordering online for a better deal, I can get 18 K-Cups for under $11. I do recommend buying online because you can find really good deals.  You can get free shipping when you spend a certain amount at and they always offer free shipping at Bed, Bath & Beyond online.  Green Mountain's website is another great place to buy K-Cups. Search and you will find coupon codes and other offers, too.

I've tried lots of different K-Cups and my most favorites ones I have pictured above. I think the Donut House Cinnamon Bun is my most favorite. I also like Van Houtte French Vanilla. The only ones I do not like are the Barista Prima ones.  Thankfully I did not buy them, but came in a free 4 pack sampler with a Bed, Bath & Beyond order. All tasted bitter to me.

Coffee is my weakness.  If you're going to drink it, you might as well really enjoy it (like a fine wine)! What are YOUR favorite K-cup coffee flavors?

Wednesday's Mint!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Minty Fresh

Vintage style dress
$53 -

Stone jewelry
$72 -

R.J. Graziano silver drop earrings
$45 -

Essie nail polish
€14 -

Clutch handbag


Marlies Möller Online - Mint Green Brush, large brush_L_mint

Isn't mint such a delightful shade?  Check out the beautiful mint printed scarf made by Tanvi Asher. Love it! Tanvi is a Rochester-based artisan and she'll soon be opening Peppermint, her boutique, on Park Avenue (by World Hair)!

Safer Perfume Options for Spring

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Organic Perfumes We Adore

We all want to smell good. In the spring, there is no better scent (to me) than gardenia. I simply love the scent.  However, we all are aware of the dangers of artificial fragrances.  Companies have been jumping on the bandwagon to provide consumers with safer alternatives to chemical-laden fragrances that you typically buy at department store cosmetics counters.  In fact, there are many delicious smelling ones out there these days.  If you can't get used to a simple essential oil blend, here are some alternatives for you:

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