Saturday, August 29, 2009

Organic Wear Mascara by Physicians’ Formula - A Product Review

So this one will be for the girls out there who, like me, have been looking for ways to wear make up that is better for them and the environment without breaking the bank.

One of my big challenges has been finding mascara that I love and that won't cost me over 20$. I have tried quite a few, all very highly recommended, but all of them seem to have the same problem: After a few uses, they get very clumpy coming out of the bottle. I know, no petroleum so of course they would thicken, but after a few 20$+ ones, I had kind of given up until someone would either come out with one that was more reasonably priced for me to try OR someone would recommend it after more than a week of use.

Well, the first happened and I'm thrilled to share it with you!

Physicians’ formula’s new Organic Wear line is:
100% Natural Origin Makeup that is the first ECOCERT® Certified Organic Line of Makeup in the U.S. It contains 100% certified organic ingredients. They come in an eco-friendly packaging and 100% Recyclable Eco-Brush. The mascara (as are all their products) are 100% Free of Harsh Chemicals, Synthetic Preservatives, Parabens, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Fibers & Dyes. They are also animal cruelty free.

So when I was in the states for a week-end I figured, why not pick one up? It was 9$ with taxes and worse case scenario, I throw it out in a month. Well, it has been almost a month and I have seen no change in the consistency of the cream. It is very light on the lashes (and I have very short lashes) and dries relatively fast compared to other chemical-free ones. And the fact that it is avalable in most drug stores and big name department stores makes it very accessible.

I for one recommend it to every one and cannot wait to try more of their line!

What are some of your favourite all-natural beauty finds?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Change the World Wednesday Challenge - Let your computer sleep!

Back with another great CTWW challenge is our friend Small Footprints :

"This week, put your computer to sleep or set it to hibernate when it's not in use.

Or ...

Typically, if you're already doing the first part of the challenge, I ask you to write about it on your blog. This week, however, we're going to do something different. If you are already in the habit of putting your computer to sleep or turning it off when you're not using it, look around your home and identify one other "sneaky" area that uses electricity. Come back here and, in the comments section, tell us what it is and how you'll either eliminate it or reduce it."

So share your thoughts and ideas with us!

Where do I save energy in the house?

  • I have all my aquariums on timers so that they turn off automatically when we are not home to do so.
  • As I take my shower, I gradually reduce the hot water so that the temperature gently decreases and I use less energy heating my water tank.
  • When we have smaller stuff to cook and bake, we use the more efficient toaster oven instead of the conventionnal oven.
  • Before the computer even goes into sleep mode, we turn off the monitor because the monitor takes up even more electricity than the computer does.
Where do you save energy?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to make your own pectin – a true 100 mile challenge!

So, I promised I would be back with my first 100-mile challenge recipes and one of the first ones I wanted to master was a way to thicken my jams without buying the liquid or powdered pectin at the store. I did a little bit of research and found that making pectin is not that much harder (if not easier) than making apple jelly.

I used :

  • About 4 pounds of local green sour apples. Cut into pieces : core, seeds, skins and all! (The recipe I found called for unripe Granny Smiths which do not grow in my area so I had to improvise) The trick is to find them freshly picked and not to mature.
  • About 2 cup of water for every pound of apples.

Here is the recipe I followed (from with tips when reducing the liquid :

  1. Place the apples and water in a large stockpot or soup kettle, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Pour the pulp and juice through a jelly bag or line a large bowl with dampened cheesecloth, pour the pulp and juice through, gather the corners of the cheesecloth, and tie in a knot. Suspend from a cabinet knob or handle and allow to drip into a bowl overnight. (Now here, I used a metal wire strainer because I didn’t have cheese cloth. It worked very well, but let a bit of the pulp through so my pectin was a bit “foggy”.)
  3. The next day, measure the apple juice and pour into a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced by half. Refrigerate and use within 4 days or pour into containers and freeze for up to 6 months. (Here, stay very close by! I walked away for a second and when it started to boil, it almost overflowed! Be there to quickly reduce the heat for the simmer when it starts boiling.)
  4. An easy way to determine reduction is to measure the depth of the liquid in the pan with a plastic ruler before boiling. Re-measure as liquid reduces. No need to pour into measuring cup!

It worked wonders. This recipe made almost 14 ounces of pectin and I have some in the freezer for future recipes during the challenge! Now that I know how easy it is, even after the challenge I don’t think I could go back to store bought synthetic pectin.

Hope you enjoyed! I’ll be back tomorrow with more on the 100-mile jam I made.

How do you cut out and replace synthetic additives in your food?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Our adventures are going 100 mile...

Hello and good morning to all!

In the process of getting back into the swing of things, one thing we have been working hard on is rescheduling our 100 mile challenge diet. Having to put it on hold because of medical issues, we are now in full swing again and preparing for it.

Our new dates will be September 15th to November 15, 2009.

Why those dates?

  1. We will be out of the country for 2 weeks early September and bringing the 100-mile challenge with us 100% would be a little hard. Plus, we will be staying with friends and we wouldn't want to impose. (Although we are looking forward to trying to find local delicacies while we are out and about over there.)
  2. The growing season being a whole month late here because of the horrible weather we got June and July, so we are expecting to have nice fresh produce well into October and a farmers market full of good 100-mile stuff!
  3. We will have time to do a lot of the canning. We do tons of preserves and such come late summer and early fall and those will keep us well fed and supplied in November when we become dependent on our reserves for the rest of the challenge.

So we are completely committed again and getting more and more ready for it…

I’ll be back later this week to share with a few 100-mile preserves recipes and tips so I hope you’ll check back in!

What local foods have you been enjoying this summer?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Change the world wednesdays - Go meatless for a day!

Hello all.

As previously started, I'm sharing my blog friend Small Footprints "Change the World Wednesday Challenge" with you :

  • If you eat animal products, then for one full day eat only meatless meals ... go vegetarian. Dairy products & eggs are permissible ... but no other animal products.

  • Or, if you are vegetarian full time ... then, for one full day, eat only vegan meals. No animal products whatsoever.

  • And finally, if you are vegan, full time, write an article about why meatless meals are good for the planet and perhaps include your favorite recipe.

So everybody shime in : Share recipes, share meal plans... share your thoughts and ideas!

Being ovo-lacto vegetarian, I'll be choosing a day with my husband and we will be back to write about our lovely vegan day! Hope you will all join in!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sunrise – Musings of a vacationing greener

No, I’m not on vacation yet… I was speaking more of a vacation from my life. The month of July was a pretty rough one with lots of challenges and grief. I want to apologize to the readers that I’ve let down over the last few weeks, but time was needed to get my health and soul back in check.

Where am I now with all my grand plans for a greener summer?

Although I haven’t quite fulfilled all my goals (100 mile diet Challenge has been postponed until September, canning season has been pushed back because of the weather, the elimination of processed foods was slowed due to lack of energy and will), I still have been striving to keep my house and home as green and organic as I possibly could. I've discovered quite a few new products I'm looking forward to sharing and recipes that I hope you will like.

I plan on getting back to writing starting this week-end. Inspiration is still a bit hard to come by, but I will try my best.

I hope you have are all spending a wonderful summer (or winter for my southern readers) and it feels good to be back, even if it’s simply to share the sunrise with you.