Christmas Recap

December 31, 2012 by Cassy

Did you guys get anything good for Christmas?  I did!  So naturally I have to brag 🙂

First, my boyfriend got me Lord of the Rings Blue Rays!


I saw the Hobbit during opening weekend, and couldn’t stop talking about LotR for weeks leading up to Christmas Day.  I was also really tempted to order it on Amazon for myself, but my sneaky boyfriend told me not to and really surprised me with the gift.  As if that’s not all, he also got me a Badgley Mischka clutch!  I still haven’t had a chance to use this yet, so maybe I’ll get to use it for our anniversary dinner in January.  I think he did a good job picking something practical and colorful.


Then, we had a White Elephant at work and I got some awesome Teavana Tea Set and Mug Infuser.  I love their tea, so this was a great present to have.  I’m very sensitive to caffeine, so tea works great.  Plus, this will help me stay healthy for my 2013 resolution, since tea has natural antioxidants and caffeine.  Finally, I got this awesome Arbonne Spa Set from my friends’ white elephant.


I don’t take baths, but the shower gel smells REALLY nice.  It foams and it lathers sufficiently, and I still can’t get over how great this Pomegranate-Mandarin mixture smells.  The lotion lasts for a long time too, but the lotion has these glitter/sparkles in them.  That’s just a little too “teeny-bopper” for me, reminds me of those spray mists I had back in high school.  The awesome thing too is that this Spa Set is vegan.  I heard from someone that if you have soap scums in your bath tubs, it’s because of the animal-based products you are using.  When you switch to plant-based products (shampoo, soap, shower gel, etc.), the soap scums won’t be there.  I just cleaned my bathroom yesterday (getting ready for a brand new 2013), so I’ll make sure to keep an eye out on the stuff.  However, it’s still hard to convince my roommate to switch his toiletries to the plant-based ones since most plant-based stuff smells too feminine for males.  Maybe I should do some research on vegan products for men (2013 goal).

By the way, I re-purposed that adorable spa box to store my contacts, extra toothbrushes, and other feminine stuff.  It’s so cute and roomy.

Hope you guys all had a great Christmas!  And happy New Year!

Category: Miscellaneous

| Tags: Arbonne, Badgley Mischka, Beauty, Christmas, Hobbit, Shower gel, Soap, Tea, teavana tea

Ingredients for Better Joint Health

December 18, 2012 by Cassy


I know what you’re thinking…you’re too young to worry about arthritis and overall joint health.  However, most people are not getting enough nutrients and vitamins in their bodies to protect themselves from the normal wear and tear signs of aging.  I’m already feeling achy when it rains, and it’s been raining quite often here in California.  Anyway, there are a couple of ingredients that can help you manage your joint health, and they vary in their targeted functions and time for realizing benefits.

The first is omega-3 fatty acids.  I take omega-3 pills daily because even though you think eating fish once or twice a week is enough, it’s not.  The chains in the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), help with inflammatory issues.  Without going into too much chemistry details, these chains compete with arachadonic acid to convert enzymes that produce cytokines, which regulate the inflammation in your body.  So while the arachadonic acid makes you more inflammed, EPA and DHA help in the anti-inflammatory benefits.  DHA and EPA are commonly found in fish oil and krill oil.  If you’re vegan/vegetarian, you can get these from flax seeds.  However, with flax seeds, you’re getting ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is converted efficiently in your body to EPA and DHA.

You can also get joint relief from ingredients like boswellia (a tree) extract, curcumin (found in turmeric), and hops and pine extracts.  These ingredient help reduce joint pain, and you can find pills with these key ingredients at your natural product stores.

Category: Nutrition

| Tags: Alpha-Linolenic acid, Docosahexaenoic acid, Eicosapentaenoic acid, Flax, Health, Inflammation, joint health, omega 3 fatty acids, Omega-3 fatty acid

Where To Buy Safe Cosmetics

December 17, 2012 by Cassy

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report on retailers last week (you can find that here), but I know most people don’t want to read 27 pages of research methods, background information, and insights.  So…here I am, making your life a little easier by summarizing the findings.  Happy holidays, you’re welcome.

The gist:  Retailers are gatekeepers of consumer products.  So they should look out for consumers’ safety and reject products that are unsafe, right?  Wrong.  The report went into details about some of the largest retailers’ practices and policies, noting whether they are doing their job in protecting consumers’ health and reducing the public’s exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The criteria:

  1. Is there a policy addressing or eliminating chemicals of concern?
  2. Is there a safer alternative in the store?
  3. Is the store transparent about their safety goals and policies?

The results:  The report looked at 8 major retailers:  Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens, Target, Macy’s, Walmart, Costco, and Kroger.  Here’s the result (from best to worst):

  1. Whole Foods – proactive in setting the bar high for safety standards and has its goals very public.  The retailer also has strict guidelines for its vendors, screening out products that are bad for consumers.
  2. CVS – also public about its own safety standards mission, but needs more safer alternatives and be more strict about safety standards of its suppliers.
  3. Walgreens, Target – not aggressive enough in adhering to safety standards considering these stores sell plenty of safe and natural alternative products.  Products are still being phased out.
  4. Walmart, Kroger, Costco – unclear about their own mission and policies.  However, these are rather large retailers so it’ll take them awhile to change their policies and screen products.
  5. Macy’s – needs to expand its safer alternative products, right now only Origins seems to be endorsed.  It also doesn’t have a policy of screening bad ingredients from products and rejecting such products from being sold.  Also, stop it with the fragrance spraying in the stores.

Not endorsing Whole Foods or anything, but I love that store.  Like people always say, “you get what you pay for” and you pay for a lot at Whole Foods…I always feel that the products at Whole Foods is far superior than other places, but that’s not the point here.  The point here is to start paying more attention to your products and what you’re ingesting/applying in/on your bodies.  You don’t need a chemist to avoid toxic ingredients, you can educate yourself on reading labels and not just rely on claims.  Also, shop at retailers that are committed to a safety standard, and shop smarter with your products (i.e. simpler, fewer ingredients).

Category: Cosmetics, Skin Care

| Tags: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, report, retailers, safe

Cosmetics Trends of 2013

December 11, 2012 by Cassy

I read this article from SupplySide Insights, in which experts and companies are predicting what the trends for cosmetics in 2013 will be.  Not to sound overly critical, but some of these trends are pretty stupid.

  1. Classic Cool Colors – Um…doesn’t the word “classic” imply that it will never go out of style?  Maybe it went through a tough breakup with warm colors, left the apartment, traveled the world, and now it’s back, kicking ass with cool colors?  Nevertheless, experts predict that 2013 will bring bright, deep, metallic red eyeshadows and eyeliners.  Black will be infused with silver or gray mica, and dark blue will work for nails.  I kinda like the dark blue nails…but red eyeshadow?  Too vampy for me…

  2. Cosmetic Kits – Self-explanatory.  When you’re lazy or clueless (like me), a kit is perfect to help prettify yourself.  Also, great gifts for Christmas.  But are we really going to see more of this in 2013?  Can I make my own customizable kits?  Was that an idea for a new start-up?  You can thank me later.
  3. Green Packaging – Finally!  This has been trending for all of 2012, so I’m glad to say many companies are *finally* getting the hint and converting to greener packaging.  Greener packaging meant more cost, but the desire to protect and save the environment, driven by consumers, are now driving R&D towards innovation and lower costs.  This should have been the trend every year, not just for 2013.
  4. Natural Ingredients for Face – Seriously…people have been fighting for natural ingredients since forever.  Well, for me it started in July 2011.  So glad companies are using ingredients that are beneficial and safe for us and our planet.  This is one thing I hope to see more of in 2013.
  5. Multi-Functional Cosmetic Products – Yes!  Multiple uses for my mascara!  BB cream that also act as primers, SPF, and moisturizer…AND it doesn’t clog my skin!  Do such products exist?  YES!  Consumers demand everything, and eventually companies will make it!  Let’s just hope it doesn’t cost an arm & a leg.

Category: Cosmetics

| Tags: 2013, bb cream, Beauty, Cosmetics, Health, Sustainable packaging, trends