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Tuesday Things

1. Remember how I recently decided to try making my own coconut water kefir?

kefirWell, it worked.

My homemade batch turned out a little darker in color than the versions I’ve seen at the store (probably due to the fact that I used coconut sugar to prepare the kefir grains, which left them brown-ish), so I bought a bottle of Tonix brand for comparison purposes. The result? The taste is EXACTLY the same.

Unfortunately, I don’t care for the taste! It’s pretty powerful stuff. (The smell is even stronger… whew!) Luckily, I have a friend who is keen on trying it himself, so my kefir grains won’t go to waste.

2. I am on a serious anti-plastic kick.

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Reusable shopping bags have already become a staple in our household, but up until now, we were still using too many plastic bags for freezer storage and produce.

Luckily, after receiving a set of reusable sandwich bags earlier this month, I’m hooked! I decided to order some more, for all of our snacking and storage needs, so this time I got a few bags with zippers at the top– perfect for quiet snacking on a plane or in the movie theater.

So long, plastic bags!

3. I’ve even upgraded my produce bags!

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After reading this article, I was motivated to take my plastic reduction a step further. If you have a moment to check it out, you’ll be amazed at how quickly we can reduce the amount of chemicals in our body (they used BPA testing as an example) by simply reducing our exposure to plastic packaging and other common environmental toxins.

I ordered this set of organic cotton bags on Amazon, and they are perfect for all sizes of produce!

4. One of the most difficult things to upgrade? Makeup.

SONY DSCUp until now, I’ve had only mediocre luck with finding good, non-toxic makeup. I only buy makeup once or twice a year, so it’s taken me a while to try a new brand! Vapour Organics is the one I decided to try this time around.

What I love about this brand:

  • It’s 100% natural. 70% organic ingredients and 30% minerals and vitamins.
  • No chemicals. No parabens. No phalataes. No gluten. No animal testing. No nano particles. No irradiation.

It also feels like these products will last a while! I am particularly loving my new bronzer (in Mirage). I don’t like wearing much foundation on my face, so this gives me a nice sun-kissed color with an extra dose of moisture, for a healthy-looking glow! The lip gloss is also fantastic! I got the Hush color, and it’s a nice and neutral gloss that’s perfect for work or going out.

The only thing I’m not thrilled with is the eye shadow sticks– they seem to wear off pretty fast, and are challenging to blend. I’ll be on the lookout for a better powdered option in the future.

Reader Feedback: Have you made any non-toxic upgrades lately? Any other makeup brands you love?

31 comments to Tuesday Things

  • Dora

    you should try jane iredale. almost all of their products are just as or more safe (according to cosmeticsdatabase.com), and they are absolutely amazing. professional quality.

  • Rachel

    I have tried a couple things from the vapour organic website. I would like to try more but just not sure what I would like. Maybe you can tell us more about the products that you purchased and their uses. Thanks.

    • I’ve only tried the few products I’ve mentioned above so far. The bronzer is a stick, so you just dab it where you want color, and use your fingers to blend. The color is very natural, so even if you don’t blend well, I think it still looks great!

  • LOVE the Vapour stuff, although I agree with you on the eyeshadow. Jane Iredale, as mentioned, is great. I also really love Alima Pure. They’ve got great colors and you always get fun samples when you order!

  • Candra

    Agreed. I love Jane Iredale’s make-up. The Magic Mitt truly does take every shred of make-up off. I haven’t used a face soap in almost a year and my skin has never looked better! They have trial packs and their eyeshadows are great.

  • jeanne

    I’ve seen that Tonix water before but it’s so expensive! Thanks for testing it out for us :)

    Have you tried the So Delicious coconut kefir? It’s really good. I recently tried goat kefir and I didn’t like it plain, it was like drinking cheese…but when I added some sweetener it was actually pretty tasty, I’m just not sure where to fit it in to my meals so I don’t get it very often :)

    • April

      Megan,
      I think Kefir (both water and milk), and Kombucha are acquired tastes. When I first started brewing them at home I would always have to dilute it with fresh juice for the water kefir and Kombucha, and I’d make smoothies with the milk kefir, just to make it palatable, but now I love them best straight. It just takes a little time to get used to the taste. Water kefir has the smallest window of “tastes good” when first starting out. The longer it sits the stronger it gets because the more sugars it has removed from the liquid. It’s likely a little like giving up sweetener in anything; to be palatable you have to reduce the sweetness gradually to get accustomed to it, otherwise it will taste terrible to you. You should really keep trying. Maybe mix it with fresh juice or make a smoothie…?

  • Brittany Shook

    I have tried most natural gluten free brands of makeup and never liked any of the eyeshadow formulas. UNTIL I discovered ZuZu luxe (they carry it at Whole Foods). Truly, it glides on and stays as well as MAC or Clinique shadows, which I used to use. My favorite color is Eternity (neutral taupe with slight shimmer) and Odyssey (a plummy purple which works great for contouring). For mascara, Mineral Fusion is the way to go (also carry this at Whole Foods). Mineral Fusion pressed powder foundation is excellent, especially if you don’t like liquid foundation.

  • i also use the zuzu luxe stuff from whole foods (liquid eye liner in raven) and the concealer for any pimples that may pop up around TTOTM by gabriel cosmetics. i use a talc free translucent powder by physicians formula (yay drug store!) i’m pretty low maintenance on the makeup front

  • Meagan,

    Vapour is a great natural brand and will last a long time. Yes, natural eye products do tend to wear off easier (even RMS beauty makes great ones like vapour that these small sizes last forever) its just the chemicals tend to hold them on longer – make sure to use all the steps (natural primer, eye color, and powder to set will sometimes prevent wear off) also sometimes its helpful to take a makeup brush or sponge with you and blot your eye lids during the day excess oil can create breakdown.

    Also if your looking to experiment with some makeup choices (eye colors) try “The All Natural Face” makeup brand its vegan and its eye shadows /liners come in 2 sizes & a an ability to purchase a sample color for 35cents each. The colors themselves are $3.50 – $6.50 so very budget friendly!

    Since your all about green bags here’s some great tips I came across a couple weeks ago:

    http://www.thetastyalternative.com/2012/09/waste-free-grocery-shopping-tips-and.html

    I also personally like these for farmers markets or big produce purchases (they’re fair trade from Africa)

    http://www.basketsfromafrica.com/items/ghana-bolga-baskets/list.htm

    -Chelsea

  • I too had purchased the same brand of water kefir grains and used coconut sugar. I did not make any coconut water kefir though – just plain water (1 quart) and then after 48 hours transferred placed into 3 canning jars in my refrigerator. I poured half the canning jar into a glass of water, lemon (lemonade – if you add stevia) and then drank it. Initially I found it was finding the right balance about 50% water kefir to 50% filtered water. So in my 20 ounce glass I had 8 ounces of water kefir, 8 ounces of filtered water, some fresh juiced lemon and stevia (optional.) I had not personally tried making any of the recipes that came on the back of the direction sheet, but I had read that water kefir loves either dates (2 or 3 pitted) or raisins in with its sugar/water mixture while fermenting for those 48 hours.

    My end result was a fresh tasting lemonade with a little zing.
    - Chelsea

  • Oh, 1 more brand I forgot to mention is Tarte is a natural company available at some Sephora stores, JcPenny Sephora’s & online.

    http://tartecosmetics.com/tarte-shop-eye-shadow

  • My absolute FAVORITE makeup brand with no nasty ingredients is 100% Pure. I am a long-time user of their lip butters and mascara, especially. I love them!

  • Thanks for the makeup recommendation! I’ve been on the hunt for good natural makeup. Have you tried their concealer? That’s probably the product I need to replace first, and it makes me a bit nervous to order something over the internet that needs to be so matchy.

  • Coconut water kefir is pretty strong! I like it but I usually make just plain water kefir and then secondary ferment it with a fruit juice and it comes out great! I want to try to reduce our plastic bag use. Have you tried 100% Pure make-up? I like their tinted moisturizer and lip stick. Going to have to check out the other recommendations…

    • I checked out jane iredale’s line and much of it has dimethicone in it which is not the best and rated 3 on the ewg database. I don’t want to go over 1 or 2 if possible. What do you think? I hate how it can be so difficult to have to search out non-toxic products.

  • This post is strangely perfect for me because (1) I just switched to Tarte, (I also think I heard Natalia mention it on one of the call-in shows @DTW) and I LOVE it. The foundation & the mascara are amazing… but that’s all I’ve switched so far. And (2) my grains for water kefir are due to arrive tomorrow! So you read my mind! :) I have been drinking the coconut water kefir from whole foods they sell near the probiotics, 2 T at a time mixed in water and a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice, and it is very refreshing! It is honestly the only probiotic I have ever really thought worked for me, except for when I get around to making my own fermented veggies, which is almost never!

  • Sam

    regarding the make up: I saw someone recommended Tarte. I must say they have beautiful colors, particularly eyeliners which stay on like glue…however… I do NOT have sensitive skin at all but…my eyelids swelled shut from Tarte eyeliner :( I was so bummed, it was the PERFECT color I couldn’t find in any other brand, and with such amazing staying power! The only other time I had that happen was from Maybelline mascara, Great Lash in the pink and green tube. So….be wary if you have had allergic reactions to eye products.

  • Thanks for the info on vapour, I’ve been eyeing their line. I’ve recently been using pure jojoba oil and avocado oil on my face and it’s totally changed my skin. Ironically my skin is less oily which has always been a problem and just looks so smooth. I really like Alicia silverstones highlighter though it takes a few applications to figure out. Also, Zoya nail polish is 3 free and applies really nice. The first time I used it lasted 5 days before it chipped but not all colors seem to last that long.

  • Elizabeth

    I have used RMS Beauty for years and I love it! It is coconut oil based. I do not use foundation either, just some concealer around my eyes and a little shadow and Lip2Cheek. They are expensive, but literally last me years. I recommend it highly!

  • Have you ever tried Red Apple Lipstick? http://www.redapplelipstick.com
    They also have powder eye shadows – All vegan, GF, paraben free, allergen free, etc.
    As always – thanks for your great info! Love my IIN friends!

  • Hi,

    Thanks for your updates. I am also on the road to going “plastic-free”. I wanted to know if you know of any products out there which can be used instead of the freezer bags which are so readily available. it would be for things like produce, salsa, tomato sauce, berries,meat,etc. Do any of those cloth bags suggested for freezer use and protect against freezer burn?. Looking forward to your response. thx

    • carrie

      good question!! Can’t wait for Megan’s or another reader’s feedback!

    • That’s a great question! I haven’t been able to find a reusable bag that is recommended to be “freezer safe,” so I usually use my glass storage containers to freeze most things now. If you get rectangular-shaped containers, they stack quite well in the freezer! I’ll also use these bags for freezer items that don’t contain much moisture– such as my almond butter fudge squares or cookies.

  • Kay

    Have you looked at 100% pure products. They are organic and uses only natural ingredients.

  • Lee

    Yes I second the comment above — I LOVE 100% pure cosmetics! I can’t believe how pure they are! Definitely worth checking out. I switched all my makeup and use their lotions too.

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