Monday, November 3, 2014

Earth Angel: Make-Up

I am completely surprised by what I have learned today. The cosmetic industry is shockingly unregulated to the point that consumers are practically being used as test subjects. Cosmetic manufacturers can put just about anything into their products regardless of health or safety concerns. Though there isn’t always definitive evidence that a given chemical can cause adverse health affects, the fact that so few have been studied for safety is of significant concern. Plus, there’s the effect over time of all these chemicals we’re applying to our bodies to consider.

To protect your body and reduce your impact on the environment, make sure to follow these guidelines.

Labels are not to be trusted and are no indicator of safety. 
Words like “natural” and "hypoallergenic" may look appealing but both have practically no meaning in the world of cosmetics. "Natural" includes products which may contain natural ingredients but there are very likely synthetic harmful ingredients. "Hypoallergenic" simply means chemicals, which are irritants have been removed.

Scrutinize ingredients list.
It's easier than ever to check the safety of over 7,500 products using the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep online database. There's even an app for that.

Skin Deep App
Check companies that have made a commitment to safe products.
The Compact for Safe Ingredients is a pledge to not use 450 unsafe ingredients. Find out who has signed the compact here. View the Story of Cosmetics video below.

"Best Option" Cosmetics Companies
The following companies have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and either use organic ingredients or are members of Green America’s Green Business Network™.


Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY Yoga Mat Tote

I've been going a little yarn crazy recently. In the past month I finished two baby blankets, a full-sized blanket, a dog sweater, two hats, three ear warmers, two pairs of bunny slippers, and two yoga mat totes. I suppose the falling leaves, the cooler weather and the cinnamon scent in the air put me in a cozy, crafty mood.

This is a guide for you to make a yoga mat tote for yourself. I also sell them on Etsy if you are not familiar with crochet or don't have the time.

I made one for myself...

...and one for my roommate, Alyssa...

We recently started going to yoga classes together so it's only fitting that we have matching totes.


  • G-hook
  • Worsted Weight (4) Yarn
  • Yarn Needle


  • Double Crochet
  • Slip Stitch
  • Chain Stitch
  • Single Crochet
Note: after every round do another round of slip stitches to help the tote bag keep it's shape and give it a bit more strength.


Slip knot, then chain 40. Fasten off. Tie on pompoms if desired

Round Base
Slip knot then chain 4, join to first chain with a slip stitch.
Round 1 - Chain 3 (counts as one double crochet), 19 dc into center of loop. ss into top of chain 3. You should have a total of 20 stitches.
Round 2 - Chain 3, *2 dc into next stitch, 1 dc into next stitch, repeat from * ss into top of chain 3. You should have 30 stitches.
Round 3 - Chain 3, *2 dc into next stitch, 1 dc into next stitch, repeat from * ss into top of chain 3. You should have 45 stitches.
Round 4 - Chain 1, 1 single crochet into each stitch, ss into top of chain 1.

Tote Body
Round 5-28 - Chain 3, 1 dc into each stitch, ss into top of chain 3.

Round 29 - Chain 1, 1 sc into each stitch, ss into top of chain 1.
Round 30 - Chain 3, *dc2tog, dc into the next stitch, repeat from * ss into top of chain 3. You should have 30 stitches.
Round 31 - We want your drawstring to be on the opposite side of the bag from the seam. Hold the center of your draw string against the top of the previous rounds seam and do the following round around the drawstring (as if you are crocheting over ends). Chain 3, 1 dc into each of the next 13 stitches. When you reach the 14th stitch stop crocheting around the drawstring and dc into the next four stitches. On the 18th stitch pick up the drawstring from the opposite end and start crocheting around it again, dc into the next 12 stitches. Ss into the top of the chain 3 for a total of 30 dc around.
Round 32 and 33 - Chain 3, 1 dc into each stitch, ss into top of chain 3.

Slip knot, chain 62, *turn work, sc into 2nd chain from hook, sc into each stitch until the end* chain 1. Repeat between the *s for 4 or 5 rows, sew onto tote along the seam at about the 8th round and the 26th round.

For mine I was using up a bunch of yarn from my sc blanket. I was also figuring out the pattern. By the time I made Alyssa's I had perfected the design (which I am sharing with you here). I recommend using one color for the rounds 1-8 and for rounds 26-33 and for the strap for a more cohesive design. Of course I always encourage taking creative liberty. That's one of the many reasons DIY rocks, you can make it exactly fit your style and needs. Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mission Blue

Have you seen Mission Blue on Netflix yet? Go watch it, immediately. I loved it! Here's a trailer:

Mission Blue is part oceanic road trip; part biography; part action adventure story. Fisher Stevens is our guide. His lifelong love for the ocean led him to produce the Academy Award winning film, The Cove, which focused on dolphin slaughter in Japan.

This film expands on the theme of The Cove, weaving legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle's personal history with the bleak truth about what's happening to our oceans. We follow Sylvia's incredible and unique journey, from her childhood memories discovering and playing in the ocean as a young girl to her adult life as an ocean scientist and beyond.

Sylvia passionately believes that creating a global parks system for the ocean that she calls “Hope Spots” is the best way to restore the health of the ocean. As she travels to the Gulf of Mexico, the Galapagos Islands and the Coral Sea it becomes clear the challenges we face are truly daunting. As a witness to change over the past 60 years, Sylvia is leading the movement to restore the ocean to health before it’s too late.

The goals and passion for change presented in the film are as beautiful and haunting as the imagery. Mission Blue is an alert for all who are dependent on rainwater, clean air and weather cycles regulated by the ocean (yes, that includes you). As Sylvia says: “No blue; no green. No ocean; no us.”

Find out how you can help by visiting the website. Here's a synopsis of the list on the Act Now page.

Everyone can make a difference! I've decided to stop eating fish. I realize now the hypocrisy of not eating turf meats for environmental reasons but continuing to eat surf meats. This will be a difficult change for me because sushi is my favorite food. But for me personally, I believe it is the right thing to do. What are you going to do?