Posts Tagged ‘natural beauty’

The Best Ethical Travel Instagram Feeds

I’m a huge Instagram fan (follow me here if you like—the aerial shot of the Golden Gate Bridge below is one of mine). Most days, it seems like there’s no better format for travel inspiration.

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Travel is, for me, about really experiencing a place—especially its natural areas and unique plants, animals and insects. So obviously, I LOVE those travel Instagram feeds that reflect the natural beauty of out-of-the-way and well-known destinations.

Forthwith, some of my fave travel Instagrammers that celebrate the planet’s gorgeousness, from urban to wilderness:

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Eric Muhr is a fine-art photographer who takes his shots using natural light. He also runs Idaho Explored and Oregon Explored Instagram feeds and has an incredible eye for nature’s loveliness.

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The Lion and the Lady features photos from a duo dedicated to “roving about South Africa”; you might be surprised at the incredible beauty of this southernmost African country—I was.
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Adirondacks Are Back! Lake Placid’s Golden Arrow Lakefront Resort Proves Region Not Just for Winter Vacations Anymore

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While the Adirondacks have long been known as a summer (and fall) retreat, Lake Placid, which is located in the northwestern part of the park has been associated with the winter olympics (they were held there in 1932 and 1980). But in recent years, as the ‘dacks have heated up as a summer destination yet again, Lake Placid has been seeing more summer visitors than ever; and why not? The hiking gets you to incredible views easily (no hyperbole about it, see below) and the natural lakes and cooler temps mean a getaway from the city really feels like one. In the heart of the small town of Lake Placid, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort (pictured above) is the perfect place to serve as home base to explore the area’s natural beauty.

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Check out that gorgeous lakefront! Kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding and more are all available from the resort’s private beach. Since motorized vehicles aren’t allowed on the lake, swimming is allowed throughout! Love that.

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The Golden Arrow is a true family business, run by a brother and sister team (pictured above) with the help of some fantastic staff. Carrying on their father’s appreciation for the earth and the nearby Adirondack Park, Golden Arrow has been a leader in reducing the impact of their guests and buildings, and the resort has received a platinum rating in the Audubon Society’s eco rating program for hotels (which they share with only 6 other hotels), as well as awards from TripAdvisor.

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What’s green? Let’s start with solar panels, low-flow shower-heads, low-impact laundry solutions, CFL and LED bulbs, some pretty hard-core recycling, a green roof, local food in the restaurant, local furniture, no-VOC paint and easily repairable high-use areas  (think hallway panels that can be replaced individually instead of ripping out a whole wall-genius!). There are recycled games in the hallways for kids, and if you arrive in a hybrid car, by bike, cross-country skis or on food, you get a special eco welcome package. The Golden Arrow’s green roof  (above) is not only lovely to look at, with Mirror Lake on the other side of it, but it supplies herbs for the kitchen.
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Summer Travel Essentials: Healthy and Natural Beauty on the Go

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Lighten up your beauty routine for travel this summer, trading out bulky, heavy items for multipurpose products that will keep you feeling pampered and pretty, even in the heat and humidity. You can pare down your cosmetics and toiletries to the bare essentials with a few powerhouse products like castile soap, coconut oil, a good BB cream and eye makeup that won’t smudge. Here are some suggestions for your warm weather adventures, along with a few tips for avoiding the face-puffing exhaustion of jet lag.

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Best Travel BB Cream Ever: Marie Veronique Organics Moisturizing Face Screen

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Starre Vartan wearing Marie Veronique Organics Moisturizing Face Screen—and nothing else.

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.

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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.”

Ingredients:

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.

The Women of Cuetzalan, Mexico: Photos from Market Day

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In most of the world, the everyday women who make life happen—who cook the food, sell the wares, care for the children, run businesses, harvest crops—are ignored, especially once they are no longer young. While men are achieving power and renown, building legacies and businesses (however local they may be), and even taking younger lovers or wives, women tend to be overlooked as they age. This happens in developed and developing countries, in cities and on the farm, but it is more obvious in places where both women and men have less opportunity (this includes both the urban poor in the United States and rural folk the world over).

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The irony is, of course, that as we age, we learn how to live; how to fight for ourselves and what we believe in, how to compromise, when to lay down arms in surrender and when to dig in. Older women are a vast and untapped resource, a wasted well of knowledge and knowingness. When I took these images in the waning days of October, 2012 in the tiny mountain town of Cuetzalan, Mexico (about 4 1/2 hours northeast of Mexico City in the state of Puebla), it was an unplanned excursion into portraiture.

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It was market day in the town’s square, the sun was high and bright in an almost-cloudless blue sky, and after procuring a beautifully-embroidered traditional Mexican blouse (the woman who sewed it is wearing the glasses, below), two herb-stuffed sopas with green and red salsa, a large glass of fresh orange juice, and some treats, I relaxed in the cafe that fronted the square. After wandering through the market, using my ok-but-not-great Spanish to make exchanges with the locals, it was with appreciation for a mental respite that I sat sipping a cappuccino and watching the market.

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A group of older women sat directly in front of my table, and indeed one fairly cantankerous lady used one of the chairs in the al fresco spot to rest her bags. They ignored me, and I just watched their body language with eachother; as I observed them, I realized that in their way, they were sort of flying under the radar of the rest of the people in the market. About half of the sellers were these older women, but in a way, they were part of the landscape, not paid much mind by anyone walking near them.

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But their faces! How could I keep myself from attempting to catch their beautiful, totally natural faces? I have made it my goal to achieve at least enough fluency in Spanish to enable me to also get their stories down next time. What is behind those visages? I’m sure they have so much to tell. And nobody asking them about how they got there. Next time, I will.

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