For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer

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Solar Freakin Roadways

You may have seen this video floating around other social media sites, but if you haven’t taken the time to watch it, you definitely should. I think this is a really cool idea and the video is pretty funny.

I was very intrigued by the whole concept, but I could not shake the image of the moose crossing the road. Moose in roadways are a legitimate concern to us Mainers. In drivers ed we had to watch an entire video on the dangers of encountering a moose in the road, which sounds kind of silly, but the video was actually wicked frightening. Moose are dangerous because they are aggressive and top heavy. So if you come close to one, it might charge. And if you hit one they fall right on top of your car and can crush it. Moose are also very hard to see at night because of their dark fur and non-reflective eyes. So it is actually a legitimate issue and who would have thought a solar freaking roadway could solve it?!

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My Makeup Breakup Part Two

After my post about cruelty free makeup, I’ve been doing a lot of research on cosmetics in order to incorporate more cruelty free products into my routine. Unfortunately I have come across some more bad news about many of the cosmetics that I use. So here we go again.

Did you know our skin absorbs 60% of the products we slather on it? And that some of that goop ends up in our bloodstream? Well it does and I don’t know about you, but that makes me a little nervous.

Check out this slightly terrifying video to see what I mean:

Scary, right? Now I am not going to tackle all of the issues brought up in the video because that would be incredible overwhelming for both you and me. Instead I am just going to tackle parabens today.

I found a lot of controversial information about the safety of parabens and I am going try my best to summarize my findings and provide you with a few ways to incorporate paraben-free products into your routine. So here it goes.

What exactly are parabens you ask? Allow me to enlighten you.

Parabens are used as a cheap preservative in cosmetics. They basically keep yucky mold from growing inside your glamorous products, which at first sounds pretty reasonable. Right? But oh by the way, parabens have also been found in breast cancer biopsies. That sounds bad.

The FDA argues that although parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors, the studies don’t show that parabens actually cause cancer. So there is a potential link, but it has not been proven… yet. The FDA states that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens”.  In my opinion, I would rather avoid potentially harmful chemicals until its proven safe rather that use these chemicals until they are proven dangerous. But hey, that’s just me.

These are the most common parabens to watch out for: Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben.  These are the biggies, but there are others out there and you can spot them on ingredient lists by basically looking for an impossible to pronounce word with “paraben” at the tail end of it.

If you want to check the safety of your current products or search for some new products, you can head over to the Skinn Deep data base and check out their cosmetic safety rankings. I will warn you that this will be incredibly overwhelming and scary at first.

I searched the data base for a new BB cream because its the one cosmetic product I use daily and so I put it at the top of my needs-to-be-replaced list. I have very dry/sensitive skin so I’ve been drawn to moisturizing BB creams since they became the next big thing. I came across one sold by Physicians Formula that had a good ranking on Skin Deep, is cruelty free, is fairly inexpensive, and is sold  in grocery/drugstores so I didn’t have to order it online. Dreams do come true! I have only used it three days so far, but I can’t complain yet. Although if I start breaking out or getting a weird rash in a week, I’ll let you know all about it!

Physicians Formula Super BB Cream

It is thicker than the other creams I have tried, but so far that hasn’t turned out to be a bad thing. Just different. I do like that this cream offers the same full coverage that my old one did. I’m not into those sheer creams or tinted lotion. I need that skin evening power when I roll out of bed in the morning! also has a great selection of ingredient conscious products. I look forward to browsing their selection for a new body lotion and whatever else catches my eye. Birchbox is where I found the W3ll People bronzer I wrote about in my last Makeup Breakup post. All W3ll People products are paraben free, cruelty free, and fabulous.

Lastly, try to look for oil based products because water based products require more preservatives and therefore often times have parabens in them.

I think that is everything! I hope you learned a bit and are not as overwhelmed as I was while I tried to research and write this. It took me a few days of frantic googling to realize that my reinvented makeup arsenal is not going to become perfect overnight. It is a marathon, not a sprint. So cheesy, but true. I will continue to share all of my new findings and I would love to hear any recommendations you have!

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Kate Spade’s New Socially Conscious Line is Fab-u-lous

I didn’t think my obsession with Kate Spade could grow any stronger, but I was wrong. So very wrong. Kate you never cease to amaze me!

Kate Spade & Company recently (like last week) started a new line called “On Purpose”, which is working to improve the lives of 150 women and their community in Masoro, Rwanda. My dear friend Kate (we’re only friends in a dream I once had, but that’s beside the point) is helping these women become a profitable supplier by integrating their work directly into the Kate Spade & Co. supply chain. By empowering these women, the end goal is to positively transform the entire community of over 20,000 people.

Kate Spade & Co. CEO, Craig Levitt, clarifies that they are not trying to start a charity, but instead create opportunities:  “It’s not a charity; it is creating jobs for talented women making beautiful products and offering them a way to participate in the global marketplace”.

The employees are paid monthly salaries that are 40% above international guidelines for fair living wages. And like many other jobs, the women are offered: paid vacation days, health benefits, maternity leave, and social security.

So far the products available include a few bracelets, scarves, totes, and clutches. All of them are perfect for spring! I’ve added two of my favorites below. You can check out the whole collection and watch a short video here.

Kate Spade Bow Clutch Kate Spade Inspire Scarf










Just a little side note: if you look at that collection you will currently see that there is only a silver bracelet available, but there were about 6 different bracelets for sale a few days ago. What’s goin on here Kate?? I would keep checking back to see if the other colors are going to be available again because they were really purdy and great for stacking with other bracelets!

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An Inspiring Summer Read: Six Months in Sudan

Yes, I know summer is still over a month away, but with the weather finally getting tolerable up here (above 50 degrees), I have already begun planning my summer reading list like the nerd that I am. I wouldn’t quite consider myself an avid reader, but I sure do love a good book. So whether you’ve started your own summer reading list or you didn’t plan on picking up a book this summer, I’ve got a book you should consider throwing in your beach bag. I assure you that this read is as entertaining as it is enlightening.

The book is called Six Months in Sudan and is about a doctor volunteering with the organization Doctors Without Borders in, you guessed it, Sudan. The book is based off blog posts written by James Maskalyk while volunteering in the small Sudanese village, Abyei. He began the blog as a way to bring readers closer to his experiences and the lives of the locals in the war-torn village. And I think he does a great job of that. He breaks down the distances (geographic, emotional, and cultural) that often times hinder people from understanding and helping one another. He explains that it is these distances, not our indifference, that hinder action.

I will admit that there are times when this book is very hard to read. There are a few excerpts that would be labeled “viewer discretion advised” if it were a TV show. I mean a majority of the book takes place in a hospital. Not always pretty, if ya know what I mean.

I hope you take a moment to enjoy this book. If you live near me, you’re welcome to borrow mine! But you better give it back!

Six Months in Sudan cover


My Makeup Breakup

For Earth Day I took my own advice and went vegan for the day. During the week I try to refrain from eating meat until dinner, so I thought it would be a walk in the park, but it most certainly was not. I basically ate fruits, veggies, and pasta all day because I wasn’t entirely sure what foods had hidden animal products in them. Also, no milk chocolate.  That’s a deal breaker. So I definitely have a new appreciation for you vegan folks. But this trial also got me thinking about vegan makeup, which got me thinking of cruelty free makeup, which I figured could lead to an interesting tidbit on my blog. But oh man did I open a massive can of worms. There are worms like everywhere.

My research basically started and ended at PETA’s website. I knew they had a search engine for cruelty free products, so I started there. Then I came across an article that listed out cruelty free brands, which I figured would help. So I looked through it and at the verrrrrry end the wonderful author threw in a fairly graphic picture of a bunny that I assume had endured product testing. And that was it for me. Touché PETA. You won me over, but I cannot applaud your method. Don’t worry, I will not be posting any graphic images.

Finding cruelty free companies has actually been a lot harder than I though it would be, but I did find one company that I can confidently recommend. It’s called W3ll People.

W3ll People

W3ll People Social Responsibility

All of their products are free of harmful chemicals and they do not test anything on animals. They offer a variety of face powders and a few eye and lip products. So I looked into buying a few of their products, but finding a foundation that matches your skin online is not an easy task. Luckily the kind folks at W3ll People offer samples of their products for $1.50. And so I practically ordered one of everything. The samples are a good size, definitely at least a weeks worth of use. After trying them all I decided I liked the bronzer the best. I also need it the most because it is SUPPOSED to be spring and the weather is SUPPOSED to be getting warmer. BUT IT’S NOT! At least not up here in Maine. So I am in need of some color.

Anyway, visually you can see some shimmeryness in the powder, which made me nervous at first because I’m usually more of a matte finish kind of gal. But by golly, there must be some witchcraft going on here because when I applied it there was no visible sparkles at all, just a very pleasant glow. Its magic. I will warn you though; a little bit goes a long way! I walked around with an orange face for 2 days before I got used to the intense pigmentation.W3ll People Bronzer

You can look at all the products online here. I will note that their recent popularity has left a decent amount of products temporarily out of stock. But have no fear! Birchbox also offers a few products that you can check out here.  Birchbox has a great selection of natural products and is actually where I first learned about W3ll People. So definitely check them out.

So for those looking to join me in this journey of animal friendliness makeup, one general rule of thumb you can follow is if it is sold in China, it has been tested on an animal. China requires all makeup that hasn’t been manufactured in China to be tested on animals.  That doesn’t mean it is definitely cruelty free if it isn’t sold in China, but it’s a basic rule of thumb to start with. Throughout my research I found many companies try to dance around the subject and say they don’t believe in animal testing blah blah blah…but never state that they don’t actually do it. Very suspicious. Or they claim not to test their finished products, but leave out the fact they test all the individual ingredients on animals. So unfortunately finding actual answers requires a lot of googling.

My next step is to find a new BB cream and mascara. I have had a three-year run with Garnier BB Cream and Dior mascara (which both use animals testing). But it is time we both moved on. It’s not you, it’s me. Well actually it kinda is you…

Those are going to be hard for me to replace. But luckily I found out a decent amount of my other makeup is already cruelty free. So I will definitely share some of my favorite cruelty products/brands in a later post! I would also love to hear any recommendations!

PS- check out my new Contact page! Whether you have ideas for posts or just want to say hi, feel free to shoot me an email! I love making friends.