Earth Day 2013 is here! Do you know your Carbon Footprint Score?

It's Earth Day 2013! Do you know your Carbon Footprint score?Earth Day is on April 22nd and I got to thinking about my carbon footprint. I realized I don’t even know what my carbon footprint is. I googled and found a nifty carbon footprint calculator from the Nature Conservancy.

The calculator measures greenhouse gas emissions by estimating how many tons of carbon dioxide my household creates every year according to my habits. I plugged in my info, exerted some “yeahs,” “gasps” “oops!”

It was an eyeopener! It included habits I had no idea contributed to greenhouse gases. It’s helped me realize what more I can do to help the environment and reinvigorate my efforts.
As I am very concerned about the environment and my impact on it I strive to keep my carbon footprint small.

What I do to reduce my greenhouse emissions at work and at home:

  • I use earth-friendly labels that will break down instead of stick around.
  • I use recyclable containers. I eschew any unnecessary packaging.
  • I reuse shipping boxes and recycle shipping peanuts.
  • I never print out anything from the computer unless absolutely necessary.
  • I use my car only when absolutely necessary.
  • I use the power of my feet to do daily and weekly banking etc.
  • I have changed all my lightbulbs to energy efficient light bulbs.
  • I recycle and compost.
  • I reuse and wash all Ziploc bags.
  • I by biodegradable garbage bags.
  • I use only reusable shopping bags for my purchases.

Things I want to do better:

  • Use my car less. I got a bike!
  • I really struggle with the paper towel thing. I don’t have a washer/dryer where I live so it’s tough to deal with reusable rags. If anyone has suggestions on how to change this I would love to hear them!
  • My appliances are getting old and I would like to replace them with more energy efficient ones.

What do you do to reduce your carbon footprint and what can you commit to this year to make it even better?!

Birdy loves Earth Day. Being a bird, she is very susceptible to the delicate balance of the environment and likes to celebrate Earth Day like it’s her birthday.

So, happy bEARTHday!

Clueless about Skincare Labels? Hashing out natural oils in your skincare products.

Natural Oils in skincare- What they do and how do you know they're working?

I know things about stuff.
What’s the purpose of natural oils in your skincare and how do your know if they’re working for you?

The list is endless..jojoba, sunflower, almond, lions and tigers and bears, OMG!

Reading your skincare labels can be intimidating and confusing. It’s not rocket science, but it seems like a person needs multiple chemistry degrees to understand this stuff.

Today we’re focusing on some basics to look for in your skincare. Oils soften, soothe and lubricate the skin as well as protect it from the elements. They are excellent at forming a seal and not allowing the natural moisture of the skin to evaporate. Different oils are appropriate for different uses.

The skinny on the fat:

  • Plant derived oils penetrate and are absorbed by the skin.
  • They also help to lubricate and retain moisture by forming a seal on the skin preventing the evaporation of your natural moisture.
  • Natural oils are from seeds, nuts and vegetable sources.
  • Oils are a must for every skin type including oily.

Some types of oils you may see in your products:

    • These are some you might see higher up on your ingredient list. Sunflower, safflower, olive, almond, apricot and grapeseed oils. These oils are liquid and all have nourishing properties for the skin as well help carry the other ingredients to penetrate the skin.
    • Most of these common plant derived oils have similar qualities and can be used interchangeably.
    • Coconut oil is hard at room temperature but has similar properties as the liquid varieties. It’s also a good substitute for mineral oil.
    • Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax and most like sebum (an oily secretion your skin produces to keep skin moisturized.) Jojoba is always an excellent choice for all skin types and it absorbs readily into the skin without greasiness and does not turn rancid as quickly as some of the other natural oils. But, there is a world-wide shortage of jojoba so prices have increased dramatically over the last couple years.
    • A variety of other oils are added in smaller amounts for their rich benefits like anti-aging, skin cell repair etc. You may see oils listed like avocado, cranberry, primrose, borage seed and carrot.
    • Mineral oil is a petroleum based product. It does not penetrate the skin but covers it and does not permit the skin to lose moisture, therefore “moisturizing” the skin. It is not a “green” product but can be excellent for dry skin as well as skin in need of repair from extreme weather or recovering from exfoliation. Use coconut oil if you prefer to avoid petroleum based ingredients

Oils for different skin types.

Oily skin:
Look for rosehip, jojoba, castor or hazelnut for any oil based product like cleansing oil. For lotions and creams you can use any plant derived oils but I would skip the mineral oil. All oils will clog you pores to some extent but you can combat this by investing in a good clay masque and use it once per week.

Normal or combination skin:
Use any plant derived oil for your skin care and use clay masque on any problem areas for pore maintenance.

Dry or chapped skin:
Look for avocado, almond, jojoba, coconut or mineral oil. Use liberally.

Sensitive skin:
Sensitive skin is a gigantic category so always use a patch test with any new product and build up use when first applying to skin. It all depends on what you’re “sensitive” to. Look for Wheatgerm, sesame, apricot kernel, carrot or avocado. You can also use oils from the more common list like sunflower and olive oil.

Mature skin:
Look for primrose, avocado, jojoba, carrot, coconut, apricot and borage oils.

Choices for oils in your skincare from natural sources are plentiful. Oils are chosen for their price, shelf-life, therapeutic value or “sex” appeal on a label. The ones listed above are some of the most common but most of all the naturally derived oils are all good lubricators and carriers for more performance based ingredients and help them to be absorbed into the skin.

Step out of your winter coat and spruce up for spring

11 Spring Grooming Tips for Men & Women

Bye bye winter! Spring is in full swing! Beauty tips for men and women to tidy up for the season.
My allergies are telling me it’s spring. It’s time to get out there and start living life again. Curse the pasty pallor of my skin, I want to breath fresh air again!

AAAchoo!

Can’t win ’em all….

But I can look good while I sneeze.

Since spring is here lets uncover and take inventory of some things to spruce up while we transition through the season. While uncovering your parts from their winter coats there’s a few maintenance tasks that need attending to and are important not to neglect.

Here’s a short list to help with the transition:

For the Gals:

  • Shape up the eyebrow.
  • If you want to be tan, fake it.
  • Make sure you have moisturizer and sunscreen. It’s your best anti-aging friend.
  • Exfoliate your body with a store bought or homemade scrub and then moisturizer liberally.
  • Get yourself a new lip stick- Poppy red seems to keep popping up but there’s a shade of red out there for all of us! And the pinks are super bold and bright. Ask a makeup artist at your local department store to help you match a color with your skin tone. You may pay a couple bucks extra for a brand name but it is so worth it! Or ask for a sample and match it to one at a drug store.
  • Pay attention to your feet. Spruce them up yourself or get a professional pedicure. Nail color trend- InStyle magazine suggests nude fingers and neon toes.

For the Boys:

Now you’re fresh. Get on with your bad self.

Spring into flip flop ready feet

sprint into flip flop ready feet. A DIY home spa day for the hardest working part of your body- Birdy Botanicals

Tips for a DIY home spa day to get your feet ready for their debut.

You’ve heard the expression “Agony of da feet?” Ok, I made that up, but we torture our poor feet everyday by cramming them into pointy shoes, letting them crack from pure neglect or just plain ignoring them. Give them the day off and take ’em to a spa day…at home.

Here’s what you’ll need to get flip flop ready:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Epsom salts per gallon of water.
  • Warm water about as hot as your skin will stand.
  • Pumice stone and an emery board. Vitamin E oil or an intense balm.
  • Add Epsom salts to warm water and soak until water cools or rough skin starts to soften 20-30 minutes.

Other items you can add to your foot soak:

  • Tea bags (black or green)
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • coffee
  • lemon juice

Now the details:

  • After soaking, scrub the bottom of your feet with pumice until all dead skin is gone.
  • Dry feet thoroughly and then shape and file toe nails with emery board.
  • Slather with an intense balm, vitamin E oil or vaseline.
  • Immediately slip into some socks and wear them all night.
  • To maintain your makeover be sure to moisturize your feet several times a week.

The worst thing we can do to our feet is ignore them. We have more nerve endings and sweat glands in our feet than anywhere else in our bodies. Be kind to them and they will service you well.