Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: For The Ethical Shopper

    Valentine’s Day: Another over-commercialized holiday that has veered far from it’s original roots. When we think of Valentine’s Day, we may think of boxes of chocolates, flowers, teddy bears, and sexy lingerie. Not to put a damper on everybody’s love fest, but let’s talk about the issues with these traditional V-Day gifts for a minute. …

Thanksgiving Weekend Sales For The Ethical Shopper

Hi eco babes, It’s that time of year again: marketing overload being pumped into our inboxes and social media feeds by companies promoting their Thanksgiving weekend deals for things that we don’t really need. Consumerism is at an all time high between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that’s why I’m here to offer you some ethical alternatives. I …

Ethical Gift Guide 2015

Still looking for some last minute gifts? I put together this guide of extremely practical, universal, eco-friendly, and vegan-friendly gift items to check those last few people off your list. I have a very different outlook on gifts this year – between my eco-friendly preferences and trying not to bring unnecessary clutter into my space, I told my loved ones that I’d prefer “experience” gifts this year. By that I mean, for example, tickets to a concert that we can attend together, a night out to one of my favorite restaurants that we could enjoy together, or a gift certificate to an organic spa day together. The holidays have increasingly become so focused on material things that we have veered so far away from what this time of year is supposed to be all about. So, while I’d much prefer non-material present swaps this holiday season, my exception to this would be sustainable, vegan-friendly items that give back and that serve a specific need or purpose. I came up with the list below keeping all of those important points in mind:

 

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[Starting clockwise from the upper left hand corner]

  1. Natural Soapstone + Copper Pots by Cookstone – These pots are made from natural soapstone that is naturally non-stick, which means easy cleanup without any toxic teflon coatings leaking into your food! They also retain heat which helps keep your food warm for up to an hour after cooking. Did I mention how super chic they are too? They will be anything but an eyesore to your beautiful tablescape! Handmade in Brazil. All different shapes and sizes available – prices range from $75 – $175.
  2. Handmade Healing Crystal Bracelet by LeaSpirit – How stunning?? This is on my own personal Christmas list this year, so I thought I’d include it here for you guys too. This specific bracelet pictured is made from Angel Aura Quartz, Herkimer Diamond, and natural Pyrite on top of a lead-free and nickel-free gold or silver cuff of your choice. These crystals specifically carry healing properties of protection, self-understanding, clearing the Chakras, stimulating intellect, assisting in loving communications, and remembering lessons from past incarnations. Pretty powerful stuff if you ask me! They’re handmade with love by a lovely Etsy shop owner. $59.99
  3. Alkalizing Water Bottle by DYLN Inspired – Many of us are already familiar with the plethora of health benefits of alkaline water. In a society where many diets are high in acidic foods, alkaline water can provide a nice way for our bodies to get back in balance. However, most of us don’t have a few grand to drop on an in-home filtration system… And buying bottled alkaline water can get very expensive. This is where the DYLN bottle comes in. The bottle has a beaded diffusion system made from natural minerals that not only bring the pH of the water all the way up to a 9.5, but they also infuse the water with antioxidants. Did I mention you’re being extremely eco-conscious by using a reusable bottle and not contributing to unnecessary plastic use? There’s a couple caveats though; they do suggest using filtered water as opposed to tap water to fill your bottle. The beads do not filter the water – they just make it alkaline and infuse it with antioxidants. The other caveat is that the bottle is not available for immediate shipment. It is available for pre-order now and will likely be shipping out sometime in January… So this will have to be a belated Christmas gift. With all of the benefits of this bottle, I personally wouldn’t mind a bit! $36
  4. Envelope Keychain Card Holder by Denise Roobol – Simple. Vegan. Practical. Timeless. Affordable. What more could you ask for in a perfect gift? Available in a ton of colors, this is the perfect gift for the fashionista [vegan or not!] on your list. I have a similar style keychain card holder and I can’t even tell you how much use I get out of it. I actually use mine instead of a wallet. It’s super compact and minimalistic and keeps you from carrying around a bulky wallet filled with unnecessary receipts and other things that you don’t actually need! They’re lined with recycled denim and available for worldwide shipping. $20
  5. Bamboo Utensils by Bambu – You guys! These are everything! I don’t know about you, but having to use plastic takeout cutlery seriously puts a small little dagger in my eco-friendly heart every time I resort to doing so. Not only does it contribute to so much unnecessary plastic use and waste in the world (are they even recyclable?!), it’s not even good for your body! Plastic leaks harmful chemicals into the foods we eat, ESPECIALLY when the food is heated. So while you will NEVER find me using a plastic spoon for soup (I’d rather slurp obnoxiously than die a slow plastic-induced death), you can sometimes catch me using a fork for a salad in a dire time of need. But with these organic bamboo utensils, all problems are solved! No toxic plastic chemicals and no unnecessary plastic waste that is contributing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch! (Please refer to the Plastic Paradise documentary available on Netflix if you are not familiar). Travel set: $15 // Set of 6 Straws: $8.50 // Ashley Morganic dramatics not included.
  6. Organic Shimmer Scrub by NYL – Ok, usually I would probably respond with a sigh and an eye roll upon seeing some basic and uninteresting store bought scrub on a gift guide. Store bought body scrubs confuse me… I guess mostly because they are so easily DIY’d with natural ingredients in your pantry for pennies – so why would you pay for one from the store that’s packed with so many unnecessary toxic ingredients? However… This one from NYL really caught my eye and intrigued me. It’s made from simple organic ingredients, and supposedly leaves your skin with a heavenly JLo-like glow. And I mean, isn’t that what all of us are just trying to achieve in life? This is another item that’s on my personal wish list this year, so although I have not yet personally tried it, I could imagine any girly girl would be excited to see this gold, shiny glass jar of organic goodness underneath their tree. Plus it doubles as a shaving oil! 8 ounce jar: $38

Sending everyone so much love this holiday season. Be sure to let me know in the comments below if this gift guide helped you out and if you ended up purchasing any of these items!

Lots of eco love,

Ashley

 

 

Natural Toothpaste & Oral Care (That Actually Works!)

Hi green babes,

If you have followed me for awhile you already know that I don’t believe that being green/ natural/conscious/eco/vegan should EVER mean that you have to sacrifice quality. And oral care is no exception! Just because we may not want to rub a toxin and fluoride-filled toothpaste on our teeth doesn’t mean we can’t have pretty pearly whites and minty fresh breath, right?

That’s where these next products come in. These are not products that I was recently sent for a review and have only been trying out for a few days. These are products that I have been using nonstop for the past 2 years and have repurchased countless times. Products that I actually don’t know what I’d do without! Well, I do know… I’d probably be using a subpar natural toothpaste/mouthwash that just barely met my needs and expectations… But who wants that?

Now I’ll be honest, the toothpaste may take a little getting used to if you’re switching over from conventional. The most important point to mention….. it’s black. Now I know it seems a little crazy that I’m telling you that rubbing black charcoal on your teeth is going to make them whiter, but trust me on this one! Here’s some background on how Activated Charcoal works and the benefits that it has to our bodies*:

  • It is formed by burning organic vegetation or wood to create carbon that is then treated with oxygen, therefore “activating” it. (This is not the same as charcoal that you would use in a grill. That charcoal is toxic and carcinogenic.)
  • It is an extremely porous substance, which gives it an extremely large surface area.
  • It acts by the power of “adsorption” – acting as a magnet, pulling all the toxins in so that they can attach to it’s very large surface area.
  • It has been used as a long-time remedy for detoxification from accidentally ingested toxic substances.
  • The toxins attach themselves to the activated charcoal, and the toxins and the activated charcoal then exit your system together, as your body does not actually absorb the charcoal.

Our mouths are FILLED with bacteria… Especially in the morning. So it only makes sense that we’d brush with such a powerful ingredient as Activated Charcoal. It literally just acts as a magnet, pulling all of the yuckiness out of our mouths. My only question is… Why do none of the mainstream brands have it in their toothpastes?! Instead they like to pack their products with harmful ingredients like fluoride, sulfates, artificial dyes, etc. Well, I already know the answer to my question, but that would bring me onto a-whole-nother topic. I’ll save my rant for another post.

If for some reason the activated charcoal option isn’t your thing, you’re in luck, because THSC just came out with a new toothpaste that is NOT black in color, because instead of activated charcoal, the highlighted ingredient in this one is COQ10!

You may have heard about COQ10 in the past, but what exactly is it? Well first, it stands for ‘Coenzyme Q10’ which is an enzyme that’s naturally found in all plant and animal cells, specifically in the mitochondria (the energy powerhouse of the cells, thank you 6th grade bio class). The COQ10’s job is to fight free radicals and keep the energy of the cells healthy. While it’s known to be beneficial for other parts of the body as well, it has been shown especially to be beneficial in fighting inflammation from plaque-causing gum disease and bone deterioration that leads to loss of teeth later in life.

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GREEN BEAUTY GIVEAWAY – Winner Announced!

Mother's Day Sale

Hope that everyone is having a wonderful Labor Day weekend! I just wanted to thank everyone so much for entering this giveaway and for leaving such sweet comments on my YouTube video. This was my first real giveaway that I’ve done, and I really loved it. It makes me happy to be able to surprise someone with a box full of good-for-you beauty goodies. So even if you didn’t win this time, definitely stay tuned for more little giveaways in the future!

I chose a winner using a random number generator. Out came #15 which was JOCELYN_MTZ89! Congrats girl! Please email me at ashley@ashleymorganic.com to let me know where you’d like me to send everything!

XOXOXO

ASHLEY

Looking For A Green/Vegan Eye Shadow Primer?

Ok, so I don’t know about you guys… But an eye shadow primer was always that ONE product that I could never find a “natural” and “green” version of! I searched for one high and low on all of my favorite green beauty websites… and no one even carried one! I even went as far as to message green makeup artists on Instagram to see what they used – because for sure that would be a must have product in their kit, right? Nope! Still no luck, even the pros were at a loss on this one. 

My first instinct was to take the DIY route. I dabbled with concoctions of cornstarch, aloe, and vegetable glycerine that left me less than impressed and had my oily lids creasing up by the time I got to work in the morning.

Then one day… As I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed, I see a beautiful eye makeup post by green beauty YouTuber, Brianna (@iluvjesse444). Just for some background, when I first started my green beauty YouTube channel in 2012, I came across Brianna’s channel as a recommendation from one of my subscribers and have been following her ever since. Brianna is SUPER knowledgeable about all things green beauty… Good ingredients, bad ingredients, indie brands, mainstream brands… And most impressively of all, she recently came out with her own green makeup line, Brija Cosmetics! So when I saw that picture, my first thought was that Brianna MUST have created an amazing eye primer for the Brija line in order to keep those beautiful eye shadow looks crease-free.

So onto the Brija website I went and there I saw them! Not one, but TWO choices of eye shadow primers that met my ingredient standards. I knew the ingredients wouldn’t be an issue, as I already knew that Brianna stays away from the same toxic ingredients that I do and wouldn’t put anything bad in her products. But then, what got me even more excited, was when I saw the price! Only $6.00?! Is that even possible?! Now we’re 2 for 2 and bordering “too good to be true” territory. So the last thing to check off my list was obviously how well it worked. I added both of the primers, a powder and a wax, into my cart along with some pretty bronzers.


FIRST IMPRESSION

To be honest, I didn’t want to get my hopes up before trying these primers for the first time. I was convinced that with all of the luxurious oils and eye creams that I love to use, that I had been permanently cursed with incurable oily lids. Well…I can say with confidence that Brija’s eye primers are the cure! They’re officially “12-hour-humid-summer-work-day-in-NYC-approved” 😉

Here is my eye makeup before a twelve hour summer work day:


And here is after (sorry for the difference in lighting! One was in direct morning light and the other was indirect afternoon light):


No creasing!!

USAGE

On an everyday basis, I only use the powder primer. I go pretty light for my everyday makeup (as pictured above), with super neutral tones consisting of a subtle crease color and some shimmer in the inner corner to brighten me up a bit. I reach for the wax only if I have a darker nighttime look going on where I really want to enhance the color payoff of the shadows or reduce fallout. The way that Brianna recommends to use the products together, is to use the powder FIRST and a bit of the wax on TOP of the powder to help enhance the colors and give the shadow something to stick to.

WHERE TO PURCHASE / COUPON CODE

If you’d like to get your hands on the Brija primers yourself, you can click the links below – Brianna was sweet enough to extend a 15% off coupon to my followers and readers! Just enter ASHLEYMORGANIC15 at checkout! This coupon code will be valid until August 21st!

Powder Primer 

Wax Primer

If you guys try these out be sure to let me know how they worked out for you!

Be sure to check out Brianna on YouTube as well! Www.youtube.com/iluvjesse444

Xoxoxo

ASHLEY