December 18, 2008

Stocking Stuffer Idea: Lavanila Healthy Body Washes and Butters

, It's been a rough winter so far.  Job lay-offs from the recession combined with below freezing temps and inches of snow make me thankful that people haven't started "shaving their heads, climbing tall buildings and shooting people," as Anthony Bourdain would say.

Here in Chicago, a minor struggle has been battling dry, rough skin all over.  Radiator heat plus a sulfate-containing shower gel that I was using (got it for free) were the culprits.  Then I bought a humidifier and received a Lavanila Healthy Body Wash and Body Butter.

Pretty factor:
Lavanila ("vanilla" in Madagascar) is like a more natural Jo Malone; the scents are as crisp and clean—but derived naturally from vanilla, grapefruit, lemon peel, and cedarwood essential oils.  The soap- and sulfate-free washes clean skin without drying, then contain antioxidant-rich goji berry and pomegranate, nourishing oat protein, and purifying willow bark extract.  Available in 4 fresh scents.

Eco factor: The butters and washes contain organic botanical extracts and no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, propylene glycol, silicones, or synthetic dyes

To buy: $20 at and

December 16, 2008

20% Off Everything at!

Hey everyone. Just discovered that everything at is 20% off until December 20!  Their eco brands include John Masters Organics, Suki, Jane Iredale, Juice Beauty, and 100% Pure.

I'm good-to-go on skincare but am definitely stocking up on JMO's Honey & Hibiscus Shampoo and Reconstructor and Jane Iredale PureGloss.

December 15, 2008

Soothing Winter Skin and Rosacea: Evan Healy Blue Face Kit

For a while, I've wanted to write a post about the best regime for rosacea, the skin condition characterized by a flushed, ruddy face with visible blood vessels, bumps and/or pimples. (Bill Clinton is a celebrity example.) I don't have it, but a recent move to Chicago, which might as well be Antarctica during the winter—quickly prompted me to research non-comedogenic, moisturizing skin soothers. The recommendation: Evan Healy's Blue Face Kit.

The kit includes Evan Healy's gorgeous Blue Lavender Cleansing Milk, Rosehip Treatment Facial Oil, and Blue Chamomile Day Moisturizer. They contain steam-distilled blue chamomile and lavender essential oils to impressively calm redness and help regenerate damaged tissue and broken capillary veins (and smell exactly like freshly plucked chamomile and lavender flowers).

Ideal for: People with rosacea or ruddy, wind-burned or irritated skin.

Eco factor:
Evan Healy products are beautifully pure—they don't contain a single synthetic ingredient, including parabens, petrochemicals, propylene glycol, filler/thickeners, sulfates, or fake colors and fragrances.

To buy: $27.95 for the kit at Whole Foods and

December 11, 2008

Spotted: Pomegranate Seeds at Trader Joe's

For those of you who love whole pomegranate but rarely eat it because of the hassle, head to Trader Joe's! The other night I discovered their little containers of fresh pomegranate arils (seeds).  They're super convenient and taste surprisingly fresh and delicious.

By the way, isn't pomegranate the most fabulously feminine fruit—with its wealth of antioxidants and phytoestrogens, those ruby-like seeds and voluptuous shape?

December 8, 2008

Christmas Tree-Growing Gift Sets by Pangea Organics

It's been a pretty subdued holiday season so far. In the past two weeks, a very dear family friend passed away from bone cancer, leaving their 21-year-old daughter without parents. (Her dad died two years ago.) A best friend called to say that her grandma's cancer is spreading like wildfire. Another friend e-mailed about three members of her family breaking bones in one day. And my favorite uncle was laid off from his job at the Louisville Courier-Journal after 36 years of service.

Thank goodness for hope, which often arrives in small forms. During a down day last week, I got a huge smile from a press release from Pangea Organics. It was announcing their holiday gift sets, which are packaged in 100% biodegradable cartons that are embedded with spruce seeds and, if planted, will grow a Christmas tree! These are the people who should be running the world.

There are three different sets, from simple to elaborate, and two sets are currently 25% off at They'd make a lovely gift for a mom-sister-friend who you have no idea what to get.

Eco factor:
Pangea products contain handcrafted, organic and Fair Trade ingredients. They're free of petrochemicals, parabens, sulfates, and synthetic dyes and fragrances. The company's packaging really sets it apart from its competitors. Its cartons are made of 100% post-consumer recycled newspaper and are embedded with seeds—moisten, plant and up will grow a a plant!

To buy:
$26 to $30 at and $30 to $40 at

December 4, 2008

Portland + White Tea with Roses

I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving in Portland with my little bro, who moved to Oregon last summer. The city is often teased for teeming with hippies and street kids (which it has). But wow. It was inspiringly beautiful and the most environmentally conscious place I've ever visited. Blue recycling bins and compact, fuel-efficient cars were prolific, and nearly every restaurant we ate at served hormone-free meat from local farms. I was awestruck. Welcome home, Eco*Pretty!

In addition to fresh air, earth respectfulness, and dang cool architecture, Portland has a heavenly rose garden on a hill that overlooks the city and offers a majestic view of Mt. Hood. One evening after visiting the garden, we popped into a Whole Foods, where I bought Numi's Velvet Garden White Rose Tea as a souvenir. It's one of the loveliest teas I've tasted, with antioxidant-rich white tea and real rose buds. Perfect for having girlfriends over...or escaping to a more calm, refined place this winter.

Eco factor: The tea is certified organic and certified Fair Trade.

To buy: $6.99 at Whole Foods and