Remember that old tagline from American Express in the 80′s? “Don’t Leave Home Without It” was said zillions of times about all sorts of stuff when I was growing up (and not just because my father was part of the ad team that came up with the expression). The phrase is less popular now, but still comes up often to me when I’m traveling; in the last year or so, it’s been in reference to Marie Veronique Organics Moisturizing Face Cream. This BB cream really does it all—which is what you need when on the road (when I don’t wear any other makeup); moisturizer, sun protection and skin-evener all in one natural product.
According to the Marie Veronique Organics site, the cream “Protects against both UVA and UVB rays with higher concentrations of non-nano zinc oxide, ideal for heavier sun exposure days,” which I’ve found to be true. Even though I almost always wear a hat and keep out of the midday sun, I find that it can be hard not to be out and about when you are traveling, and for that, I need a real sunscreen, not just a basic moisturizer with a bit of SPF. This screen is 30 SPF and not only does it block sun naturally, it moisturizes beautifully, and covers up my imperfections very thoroughly. It doesn’t rub off easily, and has never made me break out (which other sun protection usually does). Zinc oxide, a natural sunblocking agent, and a green tea/white tea infusion work together for sun protection, and red raspberry seed oil was “the subject of a study published in 2000 that showed that it could help prevent rash, eczema, and other skin lesions, and had superior anti-inflammatory properties. Raspberry seed oil also showed the potential to act as a broad-spectrum UV-shield due to its high anthocyanin content.”
Active Ingredient: 20% non-nano zinc oxide
Camellia sinensis (green& white tea), non-nano zinc oxide, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba oil), Prunus armeniaca (apricot kernel oil), Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam seed oil), Helianthus annuus (sunflower oil), emu oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), vegetable glycerin, Elaesis guineensis (red palm oil), Rubus idaeus (red raspberry seed oil), lecithin, potassium sorbate, allantoin, Cosmocil CQ*, xanthan gum, mica, Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn oil), Calodendrum Capense (yangu oil), Rosemarinus officinalis (rosemary oleoresin), pearl powder, Daucus carota (carrot seed) essential oil, Cistus incanus (cistus) essential oil, Helichrysum italicum (helichrysum) essential oil, iron oxides, Spirulina platensis (spirulina) (medium tint only).
*Paraben-free anti-microbial agent
**Not a vegan product
Eco Chick Tested means that this product passes the personal ethical, health and environmental standards of the staff at Eco Chick (as any product we feature in any way has to); it also means that we genuinely love how it works, smells, and wears.
This story was originally featured on MNN.com
Over the years, I've heard my fair share about Mexico City, mostly negatives—crime, terrible air pollution and, well, crime topped the list. But upon a recent visit to the capital, I non only felt totally safe (a vibe which is backed up by plenty of news reports that have called the city a 'refuge' from crime in the country), but that I was wandering in the midst of a European city, not one south of the border. In addition to the city's much-reduced crime rate, it has been seriously (and successfully) fighting its pollution problem (like Los Angeles, its once-noticable smog wasn't in evidence when I visited), and even boasts some air-cleaning giant green walls.
I spent four days enjoying this capital city; here are some of my favorite sights and experiences, as captured by my camera (there is plenty more to see, so I'm planning a return voyage sometime next year!)
Street cafes and al fresco dining were ubuiquitous in some neighborhoods; the exterior of this restaurant was a gorgeous example, with potted plants shading the sidewalk (and pedestrians walking through the dining area, which would make for some ideal people-watching!)
Decorative ironwork is popular in most places with a warm climate; Mexico City's Roma neighborhood has plenty of examples that catch the sunshine and give beautiful attention to light and shadow.
I had such a blast in Mexico City: I can’t wait to go back! More »
I had been looking forward to a family ski trip over this past New Year’s for quite a while. I was ready to hit the slopes again. The last time I had skied was several years back when I made a frantic descendance down the mountain with tears streaming down, and freezing on my face. I thought I had frostbite on my hands and feet.
As it turned out, I did not have frostbite and I hadn’t gone insane. I learned I had developed a pesky condition called “Raynaud’s Phenomenon” which can make the cold very painful. For years, I’d get attacks of Raynaud’s where my fingers and toes turned white and went numb. It’s really not very attractive or comfortable, at all.
I limited my exposure to the cold during the winter, or as best as I could living in New York. Walking down the refrigerated isles in supermarkets was miserable, and skiing was most certainly off the table which really bummed me out. I grew up skiing, and with every winter that passed, I missed the thrill and the serenity of the sport more and more.
More recently my sensitivity to the cold hadn’t been bothering me as much and my Raynaud’s attacks were less frequent. So I figured ‘what the heck,’ why not give skiing one last shot.
My first day of skiing in years was this past New Year’s Eve at Killington Resort. Fittingly, I rode a gondola powered by cow manure up the mountain for my first run.
Killington partnered with Green Mountain Power to cleverly use uses cow manure — a byproduct of dairy farming that already exists in abundance throughout the state — as an energy source.
Under GMP’s Cow Power program, manure is collected from Vermont’s dairy farms: 10,000 cows from 13 farms across the state produce roughly 300,000 gallons of manure per day. That is a lot of manure.
Under the process, farms collect cow manure throughout the day, mixing it with wash water from the milking equipment which is then pumped into an anaerobic digester. The slurry flows through a digester for about three weeks at 100 degrees Fahrenheit allowing bacteria to convert the manure into biogas, about 60% methane gas and 40% carbon dioxide. The biogas is then delivered to a modified natural gas engine, which drives an electric generator to create electricity. Finally, the energy generated is fed onto the GMP electrical system which ultimately powers the K-1 Express Gondola.
Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard of Eco-Tourism, but what on Earth is “Geo-Tourism?
– Sally Kardaman, Sumter, SC
“Geotourism” describes tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a given place, including its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of local residents. The idea is that tourism can be a positive force that benefits both travelers and local environments and economies.
National Geographic Senior Editor Jonathan Tourtellot coined the term in 1997 to distinguish it from “ecotourism” or “sustainable tourism,” both which more narrowly focus on travel’s ecological impacts. In addition to a “do-no-harm” ethic, geotourism seeks to enhance prospects for sustainable development based on the specific character of a given place rather than on standardized international branding, generic architecture and food, etc. In other words, a geotourism tour won’t involve sending you to an exotic locale only to put you up at a Hilton or Marriot and give you discount coupons to Taco Bell and McDonald’s.
“Today the world’s great destinations are under assault as visitor numbers rise exponentially every year,” reports the non-profit National Geographic Society, publisher of National Geographic. “The result is damage to the sites, overcrowding and erosion of the local culture and environment.” The Society hopes to reverse these trends with geotourism. Its Center for Sustainable Destinations (CSD) helps local communities, governments, tourism bureaus and private businesses enhance and sustain their distinct character while harnessing the power of tourism for positive impact: “Residents discover their own heritage by learning that things they take for granted may be interesting to outsiders,” reports CSD. “As local people develop pride and skill in showing off their locale, tourists get more out of their visit.”
The Ace Hotel in south-midtown Manhattan may be a hipster paradise (let’s just admit that right off the bat), but its dining room, The Breslin, will appeal to a wide variety of tastes. Be forewarned, there is usually a wait (we relaxed at the bar with the newspaper and enjoyed glasses of a delicious dry cider), but the upshot is that they don’t take reservations (unless you have a party of 6 or more), so I’ve never had to wait more than a half an hour.
The food here takes time, but the cozy, relaxed atmosphere more than makes up for the time it takes for your meal to arrive (and everything ends up being cooked to perfection). My boyfriend and I headed up there for brunch last weekend (we also had dinner there last spring) and what a menu it was:
freshly baked pastries
cranberry orange muffin
apple walnut coffee cake
mixed berry scone
hot cross bun
selection of pastries
mixed fruit smoothie
greek yogurt with macerated fruit, pistachio praline & local honey
ej’s granola with cold organic milk
chilled grapefruit with ginger sugar & mint
steel cut oatmeal with maple sugar & organic milk
seafood sausage with beurre blanc & chives
fried peanut & banana sandwich with bourbon & vanilla
herbed caesar salad with anchovy croutons
goat cheese & leek tart
full english breakfast
fried eggs, pork sausage, blood pudding, bacon, tomato & mushrooms
whole wheat pancakes with apple butter, candied walnuts & maple syrup
poached eggs with curried lentils, yogurt & cilantro
baked eggs with spiced tomato & chorizo
chargrilled skirt steak with fried eggs & tomatillo salsa
grilled 3 cheese sandwich with house cured ham or egg
chargrilled lamb burger with feta, cumin mayo & thrice cooked chips
2 eggs | house cured bacon | house made sausage | roasted tomatoes
home fries | blood pudding
I tried the seafood sausage (I am 99% vegetarian, but every once in a while, I eat some crustaceans) and it was absolutely divine; superfresh, flavored with a lemon-butter sauce and so rich and flavorful.
My boyfriend ordered the whole wheat pancakes with apple butter, candied walnuts & maple syrup. The dollar-size pancakes were more fun (and less ridiculously belly-stuffing) than a traditional giant American plate of hotcakes, the walnuts were sweet and crunchy, and the maple syrup the real deal.
Photos by Starre Vartan.