For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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How To: All Natural Easter Eggs

Easter is right around the corner and you know what that means… Easter eggs! And while I don’t quite understand the connection to Easter and colored eggs, it is a tradition I love to partake in. All my life I have happily bought egg coloring kits and mixed chemicals and dyes together to make pretty eggs. This year I thought of something new. I thought there has to be a more natural way to dye eggs for Easter. So I did some research and here is what I came up with.

For each of the following colors, use 1 cup of water with one of the following:

1 cup chopped purple cabbage = blue

1 cup red onion skins = lavender

1 cup yellow onion skins = orange

1 cup shredded beets = pink

2 tablespoons ground turmeric = yellow

For a dozen eggs, you will need about five cups of dye. So you can make five cups of one color using the same ratio or split it up and make one of each. In order to make the dye, mix the coloring agent (cabbage, onion skins, beets, or turmeric) with water in a saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce it to a simmer for roughly 15 to 30 minutes. This timing difference depends heavily on how dark you want your eggs. As a rule of thumb, make sure the water is two shades darker than the desired color of your eggs. Once you have the desired color, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool before straining out the added ingredient. Add in a teaspoon of vinegar for every cup of water and you are ready to go!

All Natural Easter Eggs

Tip: Use white eggs to get the most color pay off. And if you didn’t already know, make sure the eggs are hard-boiled first!

Mix the dyes together for some fun, custom colors. Since all of the eggs are dyed with natural ingredients, they are safe to eat after. They might even have a little extra kick to them!


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Friday Finds

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, food, and fun! Today while you’re relaxing and still digesting yesterday’s meal, check out what I’ve been checkin’ out this week…

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1. This year’s CNN Hero of the Year goes to a very deserving young woman.

2. While most of Black Friday sales target traditional consumerism, here’s a Black Friday deal that saves lives.

3. Colorful foods are veering away from artificial dyes and towards a more natural solution. 

4. In the wake of the events in Paris, a reminder to hold onto hope and stay united.


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Friday Finds

Check out what I’ve been checkin’ out this week…

Friday Finds 7.31.15

1. I usually stop at nothing to get the last drop of whatever remains get stuck in a bottle. So this is pretty much a dream come true. The environmental impacts are pretty cool too.

2. Another… unique invention to help the environment by cutting down shower time. 

3. Say hello to the conscious version of Sephora. And excuse me while a make a few purchases…


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Malas, Mantras, and Meditation

A little over a year ago I started doing yoga. Since starting my journey with yoga I have noticed many of the physical benefits, but also some of the mental ones. Yoga was my first introduction to mindfulness and meditation. I began to find there were times when I craved that peaceful, clear mind, everything is good in the world feeling you get after yoga. So I made it my new year’s resolution this year to meditate more often hoping to bring that post shavasana feeling to my daily life. I read numerous articles about the health benefits of meditation, but I quickly realized that sitting and doing nothing was a little harder than I originally thought…

I began trying different variations. Guided meditations have been a great introduction to the practice. The guides give you a focus and help me concentrate on the present moment rather than what I want to eat for lunch tomorrow, why didn’t my boss respond to my email, will I have time to work out later, what was the name of that book I wanted to read, or is that new crossbody bag I’ve been ogling is worth the $$$… You know, the “important” stuff. _MG_2149While my meditation practice has improved from constant fidgeting to being able to sit still for five minutes, I’ve looked for other techniques to broaden my experience. I read about using mala beads for meditation and was immediately intrigued by the idea. It felt like the right step between a guided meditation and sitting in silence. Mala beads, which are very similar to prayer beads, help you keep count of mantra repetitions. There are 108 beads on every mala and you repeat your mantra once for every bead. There are many different beliefs that explain the importance of the number 108. Here are a few:

  • 108 multiplied by the diameter of the sun equals the distance between the earth and sun and the same thing goes for the Earth’s relationship with the moon (mind.blown.)
  • 108 is said to refer to the number of Hindu deities
  • 108 is the number of energy lines converging to form the heart chakra

If you’d like to learn more about 108, click here. _MG_2154 The biggest challenge I’ve come across while using mala beads instead of guided meditations is that in a guided meditation you are given a point of focus or mantra and while using mala beads you have to come up with your own. A mantra is a word or sentence that is repeated during meditation. Often times a mantra focuses on an intention. Picking a mantra is a very personal choice. I’m still playing around and finding what works for me. I’ve even gone as far as using hakuna matata – it does mean no worries. But finding the perfect mantra isn’t something you should worry about. That pretty much defeats the purpose. For starters you can check out this list, Google mantra inspiration, or simply use “Om”. _MG_2150 Once I decided I wanted to incorporate mala beads into my practice, the first step was to find the perfect mala. I knew I wanted to find one that was meaningful and could serve as a reminder of my intentions. I ended up buying one from Blooming Lotus Jewelry for a variety of reason. I will admit that these pieces are on the pricey side, but I justified the price knowing that I would have and use it for many years to come. There was also an inner force in me saying, “Annie you paid this much money, now you better use it!”.

I liked that the products are hand made out of high quality materials. I also love that each set has a special meaning and the sales give back to charity. 5% of every sale goes to support the Kid for Cancer to help children who are battling cancer. Also, keep an eye out in October for limited edition breast cancer awareness bracelets that donate a portion of the sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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I decided to buy the free spirit necklace from the wanderlust and adventure collection, which is made up of the following:

  • Amazonite= helps to develop intuition and communication; emits soothing energy to help diminish worry, fear and anger; helps to balance mood
  • Onyx= balances, grounds and absorbs negativity while letting through positive vibrations; increases concentration, stimulates thinking and logic and encourages better decision making
  • Aquamarine= a vital tool in cleansing and clearing the water element (symbol of our emotions and feelings); clears away toxicity and brings inner peace; maintains a connection between the heart and throat chakra so you can speak your heart
  • Sandalwood= promotes humility and its scent (which is amazing!) is believed to aid alertness during meditation

_MG_2163 I feel in love with the meaning of each stone in this set. Wearing my mala as a necklace also serves as a reminder of my intentions. Everyone will be drawn to different types of stones depending on your desired intention. Meditating with mantras and mala beads is only one of many ways to practice. Besides using mantras you could focus on breath, music, an object, or mental visualization. And there really is no right or wrong way to meditate. What technique works the best for you?


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Buttered Up

If I were to say, “I love peanut butter”, it would be a bit of an understatement. It is more like “I cannot survive without peanut butter”. Growing up I played a lot of sports, but since I was also a picky eater, I only had a few options when it came to fueling up before games and practices. Peanut butter was always my go-to. And even though I don’t eat nearly as much as I used to, I still eat it fairly regularly. And I don’t know what I would do without it.

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When used correctly nut butters can serve as a really healthy snack. They’re packed with protein and healthy fats, but sometimes nut butters can also be packed with tons of sugar and weird ingredients. But not Justin’s.

One day at the grocery story I came across Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and was initially intrigued because of the simple ingredient lists. But as I began doing more research about Justin and his company, I realized the company does so much more than produce delicious nut butters.

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This is a great alternative to Nutella. There is half the sugar and (in my humble opinion) all the flavor.

Hazelnut

The founder, Justin Gold, started concocting nut butters in 2004 in order to support his active and vegetarian lifestyle. When he perfected his concoctions, he started a company that values passion, innovation and corporate consciousness. He utilizes sustainable practices by “sourcing the highest-quality, local ingredients, simplifying the supply chain, and initiating environmentally friendly office practices”. In addition to that Justin’s pays-it-forward by supporting the Conscious Alliance, a hunger relief organization, and the Whole Planet Foundation, a poverty relief organization.

This one is my favorite. Simple PB. Doesn't get old. There is also a plain peanut butter spread available, but I like the subtle sweetness that the honey adds.

This one is my favorite. Simple PB. Doesn’t get old. There is also a plain peanut butter spread available, but I like the subtle sweetness that the honey adds.

Honey PB

All that being said, it probably isn’t a surprise that Justin’s products are a bit more expensive than your average nut butter. They cost about $10. But in my mind, I like knowing that I’m eating something that is better for me and better for the environment. I like supporting a company that is conscious in its practices.

“Our products are made with common sense. A sense that cooking in small batches ensures higher quality. And that selectively choosing fine, all-natural ingredients will make it taste better.”

Of all the almond butters I've tried, this one is the best. And you know I'd never lie to you.

Of all the almond butters I’ve tried, this one is the best. And you know I’d never lie to you.

Almond

If you still need a little inspiration, check out all the recipes on Justin’s website. There are tons! I was looking some of the recipes after I ate a huge plate of lasagna last night and wasn’t even a little bit hungry, but I would have willingly stuffed my face with some of those. They look amazing! Justin also makes nut butter cups that I think I need to try soon. Like maybe right now…

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Zoya Oh Boya!

I first heard about Zoya from my friend and nail enthusiast extraordinaire, Becky. Before she came across Zoya on Instagram, Becky was a die-hard Essie girl. She has accumulated 40 bottles of Essie polish, but it only took one bottle of Zoya to convert her. So when she told me it was the best polish she’s ever used AND they’re made without harmful chemicals, I knew I had to see for myself if this was too good to be true. IMG_1574
Zoya began in 1986 and revolutionized the nail industry by creating polishes that were free of toxin ingredients. All of their polishes are “five free”, which means that are made without: toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP. So what’s so bad about these chemicals? I’ll give you the rundown.

Toluene: When breathed in, this chemical can be harmful to your nervous system and can cause light-headedness and nausea. I already struggle to paint with my left hand so I don’t need any light-headedness to make it that much harder.

Camphor: In high doses this chemical can cause seizures. It also acts as a seal on your nails that deprives them of nutrients and can cause yellow staining. Definitely not something you want in your nail polish.

Formaldehyde- This is the stuff that’s used to preserve and embalm dead animals and humans. If that hasn’t turned you off, formaldehyde is also a carcinogen.

Formaldehyde Resin- This is derived from formaldehyde, and although it isn’t as toxic, it can trigger skin allergies and irritation.

DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate)- In 2006, companies began eliminating DBP from nail polishes because it is a suspected teratogen (causes birth defects). It is banned from children’s toys and should probably be left out of nail polish too!

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So after doing some research about Zoya, I bought a few (ok a lot of) bottles to try out. A couple weeks ago there was a buy one get one free sale and I took FULL advantage of it. They have a huge color selection so picking out a few favorites was definitely a challenge. A tip Becky taught me for buying nail polish online is to do an image search of the polish to see what it looks like painted on someone’s nails. When my products arrived, the first color I tried out is called Pinta and it is a so-dark-it’s-almost-black-purple. I love it. The color is super pigmented and the consistency thick enough to keep it from being runny and thin enough to make applying it manageable. IMG_1549 I’ve mentioned in other posts that I’m trying really hard to avoid harmful chemicals that can linger in beauty products. So I’m definitely trying to incorporate “five free” polishes into my arsenal. Of all the “five free” nail polished I’ve tried, I really think Zoya is my favorite. Other “five free” polishes I’ve used chip easily or never fully dry. That’s not the case with these. Zoya is definitely proof that you don’t need these chemicals to make a good polish.


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Friday Finds

Check you what I’ve been checkin’ out this week…

Friday Finds 2.27.15

1. A reminder to always always always be kind to one another. 

2. “Marvel Comics made a movie about a talking tree and raccoon awesome, but you haven’t made a movie with Wonder Woman.” This little girl has a very good point.

3. Possibly the coolest toothbrush ever.

4. Check out which four celebrities wore eco-fashion to the Oscars.