Sustainable Gift Giving Guide 2019

There’s nothing I love more than giving gifts. I’m one of those people who prefers to give gifts rather than receive them. I just love to see the smile of a loved one light up when I give them something that is meaningful. However, a lot of people don’t love the holidays because of the emphasis on consumerism rather than time with friends and family. I don’t believe that gift-giving in itself is bad, but that they should be given with intention, selectivity, and consciousness in mind. The majority of products today are made using toxic chemicals, low-wage labor, and are not made with longevity in mind. Even if the product is made sustainably, it still takes a lot of resources to make because we are all still reliant on the fossil fuel industry whether we like it or not. Therefore, we should look for gifts that will be meaningful, useful, and last beyond next Christmas/Hanukkah. Here are my top picks for sustainable gift giving!

 

Alter-Eco Chocolate:

This certified B-Corp is sustainable from the inside-out. They use 100% organic and GMO-Free ingredients, invest in the well-being of farmers, source from small-scale farms, and piloted the world’s first compostable stand-up pouch. I also love how their co-ops practice dynamic agroforestry, which according to Alter-Eco, “…strives to mimic the natural evolution of the forest.” Agroforestry enriches the soil, supports a variety of plants, and manages pests without the usage of pesticides. My favorite product of theirs is the cherry and almond butter coconut clusters. If cherries or almonds are not your gift-receiver’s thing, you can also choose from other cluster flavors, truffles, and chocolate bars.

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Image is not my own and comes from the Alter Eco website.

Anything from Tamga Designs:

When you purchase something from Tamga, you are wearing a work of art. Not only are Tamga designs some of the most unique I’ve seen, but the company is also dedicated to using fashion as a force for social good. They pay their workers a living-wage and are very transparent on their website about the factories they use. Tamga uses sustainable materials such as Modal from sustainable beech-wood forests, Tencel that recycles 99.8% of water and solvents, GOTS certified Organic Cotton, and OEKO-Tex 100 dyes free from harmful chemicals. I would highly recommend a scarf or headband as a gift. Here’s a pic of me wearing the Nila Scarf Toba, as well as an up-close picture of the pattern.

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Ten Tree Clothing:

Do you want to shop and fight climate change at the same time? For every item you purchase from this company, ten trees are planted. Ten Tree has a goal to plant 1 billion trees that will sequester carbon from the atmosphere by 2030. They’re already well on their way by having planted 30 million trees in 8 different countries. I find that a lot of sustainable clothing brands just sell basic solid colored items, but Ten Tree clothes feature neat designs such as constellations and woodblocks. Best of all they use sustainable materials such as organic cotton, hemp, tencel and recycled polyester in their clothing. If purchasing an article of clothing is out of your budget, you can also purchase socks, hats, and towels from Ten Tree.

 

To-Go Ware Bamboo Cutlery:
If you want introduce your loved ones to the concept of zero-waste, this is a great gift to give. Not only does the bamboo look chique, but the set is lightweight and I love that To-Go Ware has a holder to put the utensils inside of. The zero-waste lifestyle can be overwhelming and this is a great first baby step for anyone interested in being more conscious of their waste. 

Honeybee Gardens Eyeshadow Palette:

Out of all of the eco-friendly eye-shadows I’ve tried, Honeybee Gardens is my favorite. They are by far the most pigmented and durable eyeshadows I’ve tried and don’t crease after an hour of wearing. Their palettes are my favorite because they choose colors that go together well. Honeybee Gardens is also one of the more affordable green-beauty brands, with the palette costing $27. This unfortunately can be the price of one eyeshadow color for many green beauty brands. I love how they work with the National Resources Stewardship Council to obtain ethically-sourced and child-free mica and regularly test for heavy metals in their cosmetics. The palette is also recyclable and refillable. I highly recommend the Canyon Sunset Eyeshadow Palette, which won the Delicious Living 2018 Beauty & Body Award.

Here’s a pic of me wearing the eyeshadows

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Pela Phone Case:

This is the world’s first and only compostable phone case. This phone case doesn’t look like someone stitched hemp and elephant poop together, but rather is elegant and sleek. They come in a plethora of colors with cute designs featuring honeybees, turtles, mandalas, as well as a more classic design. Pela phone cases are compatible with most cell phone brands such as the Iphone, Samsung, and Google. Pela uses renewable materials such as starch, natural fibers, and flax shive. When you’re done with your Pela case, you can either compost it or can send them your case through their Pela-Cycle program to be recycled again.

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This photo is not my own and comes from the Pela Case Website

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed:

Okay, so this book doesn’t have anything to do with environmental sustainability, but this has seriously been the best book I’ve read this year. This is a collection of letters that Cheryl Strayed received while working as “Dear Sugar” for The Rumpus and her responses to them. The problems that these people are dealing with are raw and real and have no easy solution, if any at all. I love Cheryl Strayed’s compassionate but yet direct advice that she gave. This book is like wearing a sweatshirt blanket on a cold day with a cup of hot chocolate in your hand, except in the form of a book. Tiny Beautiful Things is guaranteed to light anyone up and I would especially recommend giving it to those going through a difficult season in their life.

BuymeOnce Gift Card: Do you have a family member or friend who’s tricky to shop for? Instead of buying them a gift card to a big-box store, get them one for BuymeOnce. BuymeOnce is an online shop that fights against planned obsolescence by finding the highest quality products on the market. They sell a wide range of products including, but not limited to, clothing, technology, kitchen appliances, home décor, and so much more. Many of the products sold are made out of sustainable materials and even if the product you’re buying isn’t eco-friendly, it will at least be guaranteed to last for years to come.

The best part about eco-friendly gift-giving is that it’s an excellent way to introduce loved ones to conscious consumerism and for them to see that sustainably made products can be chique, cool, and fun.

What’s on your eco-conscious wish list? Let me know in the comment section.

 

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara Review

Hello lovelies!

Mascara is not my go to product, as I naturally already have really long, dark eyelashes. However,  it has lately become my favorite feature accentuating product, since finding this mascara.

My journey with Physicians Formula mascara did not start out as love at first site relationship. They have several different types of organic mascaras and the one I got did nothing and it took me forever to figure out that it was a poopy mascara. Here’s why.

1.) It defined but could not volumize: My lashes already are pretty defined, so it accentuated the definition of my lashes, which I liked, but however, it could not volumize to save its life. I thought that the amount of volume I got from the mascara was normal, until I started to see in pictures that my lashes looked really no different on camera with mascara on than without mascara. Speaking of that,

2.) It looked weird in pictures: It’s amazing flaws you discover about yourself when you start putting on makeup. Apparently, the eyelashes on my right eye curl more than the left. Yay for uneven eyelashes! The mascara made this 10x more noticeable, especially in pictures. It looked like I put mascara on one eye but forgot the other, yikes!

3.) Everyone else who was wearing mascara’s eyelashes looked better than me: When girls with naturally short lashes who I follow on Instagram, were looking better with mascara than me, I knew I had a problem. Did I have to swipe the wand 100x until I cry to get good lashes?

So yeah, it took me like a year to figure out that this was a crappy product, oh well.

Introducing Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara 2.0:

So I found this new updated mascara that claimed that it could volumize and define up to 5x. I don’t know if it’s actually 5x (at least for me) but the results are amazing! I cannot rave enough about it! The wand is very lightweight and applies easily. You get so much volume within the first two swipes and you feel like an eyelash queen afterwards! On me, they are like falsies. I like having the falsie effect without having to buy falsies because I do not trust myself with glue and my eyeballs. Best part is that it’s only $10 and as a poor, soon to be college student, this is great!

Here’s the proof:

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Hat from Forever 21, dress from J.C. Penney

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Wearing nothing but mascara and some rouge, lip color (Vapour Organic Beauty Lip and Cheek Stain in Lure for those who are interested)

Have you tried this product before? Have you tried it against other Physicians Formula organic wear mascaras? What’s your take on it?

 

xoxo
Alex

 

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Shadow Palette and Acure Organics Lip Lush in Daaang Review

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Clean makeup is awesome. However, it is not awesome when it is unaffordable and/or doesn’t work to save its life. I have been reading green beauty blogs for years now and find a lot of value in learning about the pros and cons of these types of makeup products. Through the green beauty community, I have learned that a.) makeup free of harmful chemicals doesn’t have to stay on for just two minutes., b.) anything that you can find in the drugstore you can almost always find a natural dupe online., and most importantly c.) that green makeup doesn’t have to break the bank. Recently, I found two very affordable products, but whether or not they work you’ll have to read in my review to find out :). Here’s my honest review of an eye shadow palette and lip tint/gloss.

 

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The Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Shadow Palette for only $14 is a true gem amongst natural makeup. 100% vegan and cruelty-free,  it is clean, green, pressed, and you can create glowing, brightening looks within minutes on the fly. These shadows are super easy to apply and blend like a charm! I don’t even need a brush to do it, my fingers/an applicator work just as well. The only downside to these shadows is that they are not richly pigmented. Therefore, you will need to apply more than you might usually in order to get color payoff. However, I personally prefer subtle eye looks as apposed to bold ones, so this works okay for me. There are some wonderful ingredients in this palette such as coconut oil, brown kelp extract, and ginseng root. The Pacifica website does a great job describing the colors so I quoted them below:

Urchin- An iridescent jeweled purple with gold tones.  Use dry as a shadow, wet as a liner.  Perfect for smudging and a great substitute for black.
​Golden- A perfect gold with just the right amount of shimmer.  Use on the lids or line the eyes.
Coral Sand- A satin lid base or highlighter.
Skinny Dip- Matte nude base, a universal brightener.  Perfect for using on the inner eye to add brightness

Urchin, I think, is my most favorite purple eyeshadow ever. A lot of purples make me look like I have a black eye, but not this one. Because the Pacifica eye-shadows aren’t as richly pigmented, it wears more like a neutral brown with purple tones on me. It is thee PERFECT crease color and I especially love combining it with the golden shade. Also, might I add that the coral sand is an awesome coral/peachy color especially for my brown eyes. I learned somewhere along the way that peach is a great color for brown eyes and I totally think it’s true :).

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this eye palette. The shadows stays on all day, doesn’t crease, has little fallout when putting it on, blends well, and the colors are stunning. These are thee best powdered eyeshadows I’ve ever tried next to the Jane Iredale pressed eyeshadow and A LOT less expensive. I cannot stop raving about these eyeshadows and in my opinion, this palette puts a lot of conventional makeup brands to shame!

Now onto the next review. Here’s a picture of the Acure Organics Lip Lush in Daaang!:

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I’m not as enthusiastic about this product as the last one, but I still really, really like it. The ingredients in this first off, let me say, are SUPERB. The creme de la creme of makeup ingredients and online, it is only $5.99 (I paid $8 in the store I got it). It is packed with some fanfreakingtastic stuff such as argan oil, echinacea, and edelweiss stem cells, and cocoa seed butter. Now wonder this gloss taste like chocolate flowers (literally, I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest)!!!! The color in this tube is very deceptive and goes on a lot lighter than it looks. The true color is a sheer plum that is perfect for everyday wear and that you can even wear without any other makeup. Only downside to this gloss is that it does not last very long on the lips and you have to reapply it constantly like a lip balm. However, this gloss makes my lips feel as moisturized as when I put on a lip balm, so I don’t really mind it. Additionally, when you apply it, the color does get on your teeth, so make sure you have some floss handy. Overall though, would recommend!

Here is a picture of me wearing the makeup:

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On the eyes: Urchin on the crease and Golden on the lid. Currently, my new favorite eyeshadow look.

Lip Note: I am wearing this lip lush over a nude-ish colored lipstick, so it’s not an exact representation of the color. But this does show how beautifully it pairs with other colors.

Do you own any of these products?

xoxo

Alex