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Link Love: Island Time

Lucky me, I got to spend a long weekend at a not-yet-opened but beautiful, sustainably-minded resort on Staniel Cay in the Bahamas! There was plenty of snorkeling, boating, exploring, and adventuring. (Side note: Traveling when pregnant—especially to a tiny island in the middle of nowhere—is quite an experience.)

It was gorgeous there, and I’ll be sharing a few natural beauty tips from the islands with you next week. But in the meantime, I’ll leave you with this image of crystal clear water (don’t you want to just dive in?!), and a few great links. —Aleigh

I really loved this story about wedding day yoga from the latest issue of one of the magazines I edit—and I also happen to think this yoga series is great for calming any stressful day.

I’m not a fan of hand sanitizer, and my reluctance to use it just keeps getting reinforced. (Moms, tell me: Is my opinion on this going to change once I have grubby baby hands to deal with?)

Is your summer makeup melting? Here’s a great post from Whole Foods about how to heat-proof your makeup.

I have tried this natural technique for getting rid of fruit flies, and I can officially say that it works! If you’ve got an infestation on your hands from all of that great summer fruit, try it.

Apparently there’s a potential link between BPA and anxiety. This is news to me, but I already do my best to avoid BPA (even though it’s everywhere).

What are you reading+enjoying this week?


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Happy News!

Family heirlooms: my grandfather's silver baby rattle and chessboard.

I’ve got a bit of a navel-gazing update to share: my husband and I are getting the best Christmas gift ever this year! We’ll finally get to meet our baby girl this  December. Sometimes nine months feels like such a long time to wait (and other times, like when I’m looking at my to-do list, it feels way too short).

But don’t worry, I have no plans to turn Indigo+Canary into a mommyblog! I do, however, plan to post about some of the natural and organic products that have helped me survive pregnancy so far, and moms, I’d love your input, too! Feel free to weigh in on everything from the products you’ve used and loved to baby girl names…

Thanks for indulging my little personal announcement. We’re excited! —Aleigh


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How to evaluate natural/organic cosmetics

I’m starting to peek at the results of the 2013 Indigo+Canary Reader Survey—thanks again to everyone who has already participated!—and I’m seriously grateful to all of you for your candid responses, kind words, requests, and feedback.

One topic that keeps coming up?  The tendency to become overwhelmed by the transition to natural cosmetics. So here’s a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to evaluating a product I’m considering, either in-store or online. I hope you find it helpful.

Feel free to leave your own tips, techniques, challenges, etc. in the comments! I’d be happy to do a follow-up post if anyone has specific challenges for us to tackle together. —Aleigh

DON’T believe the hype. Many, many products contain natural and/or organic ingredients. That doesn’t mean they don’t also contain a bunch of junk ingredients. (Note: The practice of promoting a product as natural when it isn’t is called greenwashing. And it stinks.)

DO realize there’s a difference between natural and organic. There are many natural products out there that aren’t organic (and even many organic products that can’t claim to be 100% organic) that I think are safe and beneficial. I almost always use the term “natural” because I don’t focus exclusively on organic products—you’ll find both natural and organic products on this blog. Some people refer to them as “clean” products.

DO check for ingredients that are an immediate no-go. Fact: Ingredients lists are often overwhelmingly extensive. If you can remember 3-5 key ingredients* you know you want to stay away from at all costs, scan and look for those before you scrutinize the entire ingredients list. That way, if you spot something like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) anywhere on the list, you can rule out that product without having to study each and every ingredient.

DON’T forget to consider your specific needs. If you have sensitive skin or know that you’re sensitive to a certain ingredient, check for those first on an ingredients list. You may also want to be a little more picky about the purity of the ingredients list if you’re looking for a product to use on your little one as opposed to when you’re shopping for a shampoo you’re going to use yourself.

DO look up ingredients you don’t recognize. Especially the ones that are ridiculously long and hard to pronounce. This is the most laborious step, but an important one. In stores, it’s helpful to have a smartphone with some natural beauty apps or a list of your no-go ingredients in your wallet for reference. Online, I keep a link to the SkinDeep Database open so I can switch back and forth easily.

DON’T hesitate to ask for a full ingredients list if you can’t find one. Many not-natural products (and to be fair, some truly natural products) don’t include full ingredients lists online. If this is the case, I often email the company to ask for a complete ingredients list…but it makes me extremely suspicious that a product isn’t actually as natural as it claims.

DO make a judgment call. Transitioning to natural cosmetics is a personal journey. You might decide to go all-in and toss every single one of your not-natural products at once to replace them with purer ones. But you don’t have to. Instead, you may decide to replace them one by one, as you use up your conventional products. Or you may choose to ditch the ones that have the most questionable ingredients first. It’s entirely up to you, and there is no wrong approach. Want more? Here’s a link to my natural/organic beauty philosophy.

DON’T stress over the decision. Easier said than done, I know. But keep in mind that  any effort you make is better than no effort. Really! And you have several factors to consider: convenience, price, availability, performance, and purity. So prioritize those factors in whatever order works best for you. (Example: I frequently buy a mostly-natural mascara in drugstores because I procrastinate on ordering a more natural version online…and mascara is the one beauty product I rarely leave the house without putting on. In that case, I typically prioritize convenience and price over performance and purity.)


*For me, these no-go ingredients are pthalates, any kind of parabens (there are six: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben and benzylparaben), sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, PEGs, and any artificial colors or fragrances. There are plenty other ingredients I avoid or do my best to avoid, of course, but these are the absolute, I-will-not-touch-them items. Bella Floria has a great explanation of these ingredients and a few others you may want to stay away from, here. 

(Image via Christian Kadluba on flickr)

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Link Love: Happy March!

Big thanks to everyone who has already filled out the 2013 Indigo+Canary Reader Survey! It’ll be up until March 9—I’ll randomly select a winner for the $25 Spirit Beauty Lounge gift card on March 10, and announce the winner here.

In the meantime, I have some great links to share:

There’s a good list of BPA-free canned goods and baby formula at the end of this post from EWG.

I’m loving this slideshow of two-minute tricks that boost your health from Well+Good NYC. (Dry brushing, yes!)

I really appreciate this post on No More Dirty Looks: making choices about what’s “clean enough” for you. (Reminds me a little of this post from last summer.)

I’m definitely going to make this citrus surface cleanser from Organic Authority. Look out, countertops!

Good information from Prevention: the best time of day to take your meds. (And I’d also like to test out these all-natural perfumes…)

What are you reading+enjoying lately? —Aleigh


(Image via urbanshoregirl)

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Natural Beauty Guide: Charlotte, NC

Since I launched Indigo+Canary in 2011, I’ve planned to share natural beauty guides to a few of my favorite cities—and I’m finally ready to make it happen! What better place to start than my current hometown, the lovely city of Charlotte? Read on for my guide to living and shopping natural in the city.

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