Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Did You Decide to Help Haiti for the Rest of 2010?

Last week in my post, Keeping Your Balance While Helping Haiti, I suggested that you research organizations working in Haiti that you would like to support by donating, volunteering, or helping in some other way throughout 2010. We need to support the people of Haiti now, but also in the future, when the hard work of rebuilding begins.

Although I have a particular interest in grassroots organizations, I decided to donate to a large organization, CARE. CARE is a humanitarian nonprofit that works in poor communities. They focus on women and children. I contributed to their Haiti Emergency Response Fund, and am going to set up a small ongoing monthly donation for the rest of 2010, starting in February.

I also put a CARE web badge on my blog, began following their Twitter feed, joined their Facebook Page, put a CARE theme on my iGoogle page, and subscribed to their Notes from the Field blog, and their Policy and Advocacy blog. Because I have an interest in social action book clubs, I signed up to receive e-mail updates and discussion guides about three books they recommend reading.

Have you chosen a way to support an organization working in Haiti throughout 2010? What ways did they offer for you to take action? Did you wish there were more ways to get involved?

For ideas about how to help the Haitian earthquake survivors, check out my post Helping Haiti: Places to Donate, Creative Fundraising Ideas, and Being a Smart Donor.

Cross-posted from

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Your Feedback Requested on The Have Fun Do Good Guide

Hello Have Fun Do Gooders!

One of my 2010 New Year's resolutions is to complete either a book proposal, or a self-published e-book that I am tentatively titling, The Have Fun Do Good Guide.

You have no idea how scary it is for me to share that with you. Yikes!

Anyway, I am writing The Have Fun Do Good Guide because:

1. I've always wanted to write a book.
2. I want to explore how to add more having fun and doing good into my own life.
3. I want to share stories, ideas and resources that are inspiring and useful to other people.

I have my own ideas about what I would like to include in the book, but I *really* want to hear about the kinds of things you would like to read about in The Have Fun Do Good Guide.

If you feel shy about leaving a comment, feel free to email me at britt AT brittbravo DOT com.

Thanks for your help!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Keeping Your Balance While Helping Haiti

When a tragedy like the earthquake in Haiti happens, and the images and stories are so disturbing, it is normal to feel extreme emotions: despair, depression, anxiety that help isn't getting their fast enough, guilt, even denial. The thing is, extreme emotions are not always the most productive ones. Eventually, Haiti will be out of the 24-hour news cycle, but its people will still need support. Make a commitment this month to do your part to help over the long term, in a balanced way.

Below are five ideas for how to keep your balance, while helping Haiti, or any cause you are passionate about:

1. Be conscious of how much news you watch and read. Don't consume too much, or too little, and definitely avoid reading or watching before going to sleep at night.

2. Look at your budget. How much money can you afford to give an organization working in Haiti? Even if it feels small, give it, be grateful you can give it, and don't feel guilty that you can't give more at this time.

3. Start doing research on organizations working in Haiti that you would like to support financially, or by volunteering throughout 2010. Guidestar has a huge list.

4. Balance the sorrow with the silly. Make sure you are getting a daily dose of laughs whether it is from watching funny movies and TV shows, or reading humorous books and comics. My favorite comedy these days is Modern Family.

5. Feel grateful for what you have, and enjoy it. If you have the privilege of living a relatively easy life, then truly relish it. Start, or restart, a gratitude journal and write down at least one thing you are grateful for each day.

When we are happy, we have energy, and when we have energy, we can be better helpers.

Cross-posted from

Flickr photo credit: Rock Balance with Red Seaweed uploaded by :mrMark:.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Are Some of Your Favorite Etsy Shops?

One of my Have Fun Do Good resolutions this year is to either make gifts, buy them from local businesses, or purchase from creative entrepreneurs (who may, or may not be local). I'd love to buy more handmade gifts from Etsy artists.

The only Etsy shop I'm really familiar with is the Cakespy Shop because I read the Cakespy blog. Although I get a kick out of anthropomorphized cupcakes, not everyone shares my love of food with faces on it! (I also like Saxton Freymann's food sculptures).

What Etsy shops do you love to browse and buy from? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, or on Facebook.


Image: 10 Pack of Cakespy Library Notecards from the Etsy shop.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Helping Haiti: Places to Donate, Creative Fundraising Ideas, and Being a Smart Donor

When I posted about How to Help Haitian Earthquake Survivors on Tuesday evening, there wasn't much information out yet about how to help, but now there are lots of posts and articles with lists of organizations you can donate to like:
Making an individual donation to an organization is a great way to help, but why not organize a group fundraiser, and increase your impact? Below are some fun ways people are raising money for Haiti:
Whether you decide to do something by yourself, or with others, Joanne Fritz of Joanne Fritz's Nonprofit Blog has a helpful post with Top Three Do's and Don'ts for Helping Haiti. Her advice is: 1. give money, not things; 2. donate safely; 3. don't randomly show up to volunteer.'s post, Helping Hati Things to Consider echoes Fritz's advice about not sending things saying:
"Note that organizations are asking for financial donations—not supplies—because they prefer to purchase exactly what they need from secure supply chains, using delivery means that can ensure the safety of the shipment. Where possible, purchasing materials available locally is also a boon to the local economy in the wake of a natural disaster."
They also recommend that people interested in volunteering should:
"Please be patient. Volunteer managers are likely overwhelmed by the outpouring of goodwill and may be unprepared to receive the numbers of people stepping forward to help out. It will take a long time for Haiti to dig out from this disaster, and the long-term volunteering needs will become more apparent as the month (and years) pass."
The Charity Navigator blog post, Tips, Tips and More Tips for Funding Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts includes advice for how to avoid donation scams like: 1. avoid newly-formed charities and give to an established charity that has worked in Haiti, 2. do not give to the Haitian government, 3. be leery of people who contact you online claiming to be a victim, and 4. avoid telemarketers (give to the charity directly).

The most important thing to remember is that even if you can only give a little bit of time, or money, it will make a difference.

Cross-posted from

Image credit: Haiti Earthquake uploaded by United Nations Development Programme.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to Help Haitian Earthquake Survivors

The people of Haiti are going to need a lot of help after today's 7.0 earthquake. You can see photos of some of the damage as they come in on PicFog.

Below is a quick list of organizations asking for donations. If you know of other ways to help, please post ideas in the comments. I'm particularly interested in hearing about grassroots organizations.

• The American Red Cross is accepting donations for its International Response Fund. You can follow their work on the American Red Cross Disaster Newsroom blog, and on Twitter at @RedCross.

U.S. Fund for UNICEF also needs donations. According to their press release:
"Funds are urgently needed to provide safe water, temporary shelter systems, essential medical supplies etc. . . . Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and has a population of 9.6 million inhabitants, of which more than half are under 21 years old."
You can follow UNICEF's work on their Field Notes blog, and on Twitter at @UnicefUSA.

Mercy Corps is deploying an emergency team, and is asking for donations. You can follow their work on the Mercy Corps blog, and on Twitter at @mercycorps.

• According to their Twitter feed, Oxfam America is already on the ground in Haiti and is asking for donations. You can follow them on the Oxfam America blog and on Twitter at @oxfamamerica

• Musician Wyclef Jean, who established Yéle Haiti, tweeted, "Help Haiti Earthquake Relief Donate $5 by texting YELE to 501 501 right now please RT." You can follow him on his blog, and on Twitter at @wyclef.

Update: I've posted more info about how to help in a new post,
Helping Haiti: Places to Donate, Creative Fundraising Ideas, and Being a Smart Donor.

**Cross-posted from
. A BlogHer commenter also posted a link to an extensive list on the What Gives!? post, Helping Haiti, that you should check out too.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Have Fun Do Good Idea: Throw an Online Fundraising Surprise Birthday Party

Whenever the nonprofits I work with as a social media consultant ask, "What blogs should we be reading?" the first one I always recommend is Beth's Blog by Beth Kanter. Beth is a one woman news service/think tank for everything you want to know about nonprofits and social media. She's also a Contributing Editor with me for the Nonprofit and Social Change section of

To celebrate Beth's 53rd birthday today Amy Sample Ward and Stacy Monk came up with a have fun do good idea: they are throwing her an online surprise party to fulfill her birthday wish of raising $530 to send 53 Cambodian children to school through the Sharing Foundation. To understand why the Sharing Foundation is important to Beth, watch this video she made with her son Harry last year.

Sixty bloggers (and counting) posted about how Beth has impacted their work, and linked to her Birthday Cause on Facebook. As of this writing, Beth's wish to raise $530 has been surpassed. $3,256 has been donated to the Sharing Foundation in her honor.

If you read Beth's Blog, and would like to be a part of her online surprise party just:

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Cultivating Food Entrepreneurs: Interview with Patricia Loya of La Cocina

"Fast forward four years later, she's the owner of her own company. Business is booming. She's growing her business. . . . we can't fast forward to three generations from now, but the trajectory of her family, I guarantee you, has been changed forever."
Early last month I chatted with Executive Director, Patricia Loya, about La Cocina, a San Francisco incubator kitchen for women. The mission of La Cocina is to cultivate food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance, and access to market opportunities. They focus primarily on women from culturally diverse and immigrant communities.

Below is an edited transcript of the interview, which you can also listen to on the Big Vision Podcast site, or through the iTunes Music Store. Our conversation began with Patricia explaining the need that La Cocina fills.

Patricia Loya: La Cocina fills a need that no other organization in the Bay Area fills, and that is that we provide intensive one-on-one technical assistance, access to markets, and a full state-of-the-art commercial kitchen facility to people who otherwise would not have access to those resources: mainly women, low-income immigrants, and other people like that in our community.

Specifically, you might see in the Mission District a low-income immigrant woman who is selling tamales that she made out of her home. She's doing this because her family doesn't have enough income and she's patching her family's income in the best way she can. By doing it that way, her business is not going to grow, but she's at least making ends meet.

If a person like that has the dream and the vision to start their own food business, a legitimate food business, and they want to do the hard work that it takes to get that done, we at La Cocina can help them. A person like that would apply to our program, and we'd see if they meet our basic requirements. Then we'd also see if they have what it takes to put in the hard work of starting a business.

If you fast forward four years later, that same woman now has a legitimate business that's been formalized. It has a business plan. She has her licenses. She is no longer cooking out of her home (it's illegal to cook out of your home and sell the food, though people do it). She's cooking out of a certified commercial kitchen facility. What does this mean for her business?

She now can sell to a Citibank luncheon. She can advertise her services for weddings. She can start saving up income to one day have her own restaurant. And in the course of that time she's gained enough skills to be able to do that, and that's what we're here for.

Are they two separate programs, the program that women apply to, and then the facility? Can people use the facility if they're not in the program, or are they intertwined?

Well, the facility is a super great resource in the community. The Mission District in San Francisco has a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen that's an envy. Whether you're a low-income immigrant person, or a French-trained chef, this is a fantastic kitchen to be in. We do rent some kitchen space to commercial users who are not part of our program, and we don't just accept and open the kitchen up to any commercial users. We are creating a space here that is supportive, and that helps a particular type of person advance, so we screen commercial tenants, but we do have some commercial users of the kitchen who are not part of the program.

You talked about it a little bit, but what are the skills that the women who go through the program learn?

Over the course of four years, they receive one-on-one technical assistance, workshops, and all type of training, mainly in five areas: sales, finances, operations, product development, and marketing. For instance, if we dive into the area of marketing, a woman may not have even thought of who her market is. What is her niche? What kind of logo does she want to have? Is she spunky and playful, or is she serious and soul food?

It just depends, and by the time a woman graduates from La Cocina, they're clear about what their market is and how to reach that market. They have a brand. They have a logo. They have a website, and it's all with a strategy behind it. That's just in one area.

In terms of product development, the people who come here are typically great cooks and great chefs, but it's one thing to cook for 40 people, and it's another thing to have a product that is available to 2,000 people.

On our staff we have a Culinary Director, and that person works one-on-one with each participant. Recipes sometimes need to be changed. It's not about multiplying it by 40!

She may be buying her onions in the little store down the street, and then her meat three blocks farther away. She may have a good relationship with the little market, but the prices are super high.

We just bring to their attention where they could source their products. It's always their choice, but oftentimes the women are really shocked that they can buy organic local products for the same price, or less than what they're spending on products that aren't organic. Those are some of the different things you get when you have a Culinary Director on staff.

What's one of your favorite La Cocina success stories?

Oh, gosh, there's so many. There's a story of a particular woman, and I won't say her name, but she's very typical, say, of an immigrant Latina woman. She has a husband. She has a family. It's a big step for her to even consider the undertaking of a business. And this particular woman had a husband who was not particularly supportive, just thought, "Terrible idea. You're going to be away from the home. What are you doing?"

The staff at La Cocina is trained to be able to not just provide her with the technical support, but to help her get over all the barriers in life. One, in this instance, might have been his initial scorn. Fast forward four years later, she's the owner of her own company. Business is booming. She's growing her business. Her husband is part of the business. He works for her. He's supportive.

She didn't actually make him a co-owner in this particular case, but can you imagine what's happening in that household? How do you quantify that? What happened to her self-esteem? How did he also grow in the process? This is a story that I think is a miracle, you know, for her family. And we can't fast forward to three generations from now, but the trajectory of her family, I guarantee you, has been changed forever.

What are some of the challenges that La Cocina faces in meeting its mission and doing its programs?

La Cocina is at the point where everything is still a first for us. We started five years ago, and as you've heard, women are typically in the program anywhere from two to five years. We just barely got our 501(c)(3) status. This is a year of firsts in terms of everything about our financial structures. Like all nonprofits, we're consistently going for the funding, and the economy has an impact on that. We're successful, but we have a watchful eye on what's happening nationally, and with the philanthropic world. Specifically, one thing that we notice is a barrier is that as successful as the women are, say in year four, a barrier to them graduating from La Cocina is do they really have enough capital in the San Francisco marketplace to open up a San Francisco restaurant?

Even if they are renting the space, they are typically asked to have 12 months worth of rent liquid in assets, and it's hard. A lot of them don't have that. If they even thought about buying a space, we're talking hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We're noticing that as a challenge right now, and it's a challenge at a time in which the economy has taken the turn we all know it's taken. Loans are harder to come by. What do we do in a case like this?

We're bringing together partners from our board, the community, the banking world, and the investment world, and piecing together, or attempting to piece together, solutions for specific people in our program, so that they can build that capital, or that credit, or that loan that they need to really launch a full-fledged business in the city.

Wow! That's a huge challenge I never even thought of. I mean, it's bad enough when you're renting yourself, but for a whole year, yeesh, especially when you're starting.

Exactly. Imagine being an immigrant woman who lives south of the Tenderloin, very low rent, and the entire family lives in a one-bedroom place. You're not splurging or spending tons, but over the past four years you've accumulated quite a few tens of thousands of dollars, and then sitting in front of a real estate agent and being told, "Not even close. You don't have enough. " It's hard. That's why we're trying to be creative about the solution. The thing that La Cocina does well is it's self-reflective. The staff here has always been self-reflective, and barriers don't stop us. We're going to figure out this puzzle. We just haven't figured it out yet.

What's the path that brought you to this work? You just started at La Cocina this year, and you did many interesting things before. What brought you here?

I have a passion for working with low-income communities. I have a passion for working with women, and I have a passion for working with people who are doing what it takes to advance themselves and their families. Specifically, in my family if I look back at what brought us to where we are today, it was really a powerful stand that my great-grandmother took. She was born in 1902. She was orphaned at a young age, and at some point she decided that the only way she could make a living for herself was cooking. She had a third-grade education, but was extremely wise. She cooked for families. She cooked for restaurants. She at one point cooked for the US military. She got the skill of cooking great food, for lots of people.

For whatever reason, this Mexican-American woman decided, "I'm going to start my own restaurant." She started La Casita Cafe. When she did that, it catapulted my family out of poverty forever. Every one of my aunts and uncles, myself included, my sisters, and my grandfather, all worked for La Casita.

It was located right across from NAU, and because of that, some of my mother's siblings got to go to college. If it wasn't located right across the street from NAU, it's anybody's guess. But also, if they didn't have that sort of income and that sort of family stability, would that have even been an option?

I have uncles to this day make their living as chefs, and I have an aunt to this day who's a waitress. I have other uncles and aunts who are engineers and teachers, but all of that sprung from having the stability, this base.

When I look at the women at La Cocina, I'm not just looking at them today. I'm thinking what is possible for their families, and that's what guides me in my work.

Wow! That's an awesome story. What advice do you have for people who are listening who are aspiring food entrepreneurs, or working with food entrepreneurs in communities like this one?

Oftentimes we all want to do things by ourselves, and then in the age of Internet we say, "I can find all the answers online." There are actually a lot of resources out there. There's small business development centers, or small business associations. There are places like La Cocina. There's the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center.

Seek the support you need to be able to develop a concrete business plan, be flexible, and know that it could possibly change. Most of them do. And then be self-reflective as to whether or not you really want to dedicate your life to this. That's for an entrepreneur.

For people working with communities, I think a hallmark of La Cocina is the individualized nature of our program. Every participant here has somebody one-on-one looking at that person's specific needs. Is this business plan truly tailored not just for the food industry, but for the specific type of food industry? The one-on-one nature of our work, I think, is what makes it so successful.

What are the specific food industries that you work with the most often?

We typically divide the food entrepreneurs in our program into two camps: the catering/hot food/restaurant camp, and the packaged/prepared food camp. Under packaged foods we have a lot of sweet treats. We have Kika's Treats, and Clairesquares, and a delicious Peruvian snack called alfajores. One of our entrepreneurs makes spicy pumpkin seeds. There are plans and specific action items that are more specific to packaged foods.

In the other camp we have the hot prepared foods. We have everything from great Salvadorian tamales, to different types of Mexican foods. You've got Mexican food from Mexico City, Mexican food from the Yucatan area, Japanese snack food. It's a different type of getting out into the market when you have a hot food, as opposed to packaged food.

We're bringing on six new entrepreneurs, and so we have Nigerian and Malaysian and Russian food coming on board, and a Latina woman who specializes in great cupcakes. We're talking tiramisu cupcakes and piña colada cupcakes, and wow, what's going to be coming out in 2010 is great.

Wow! That's totally exciting. How can listeners get involved with La Cocina, whether they're here in the Bay Area, or somewhere else and listening?

Well, we direct people first to our website, On the website there are many ways to get involved. You can reach out directly to one of our entrepreneurs for an upcoming event you're having. You can donate to La Cocina online. There's a volunteer page, and a volunteer form you can fill out, and that puts you in a database where we'll reach out to you when we need volunteers.

If you think you're interested in helping to govern and guide the direction of La Cocina, the board, you'd write to me directly as the Executive Director, and I'd forward your information on to the board of directors.

A fantastic way to get involved is to attend an upcoming La Cocina event. We have cooking classes that happen here, and people bring their family and/or colleagues. They get trained in some specific area of cooking, and the evening always ends with a great meal, and there's wine flowing. It's just a super fun time.

Is there anything else about La Cocina that you didn't get to mention and wanted to add?

It would be great if your listeners looked out for La Cocina products in different stores, not just throughout the Bay Area, but even nationwide. I'm thinking Noe Valley Whole Foods. We have nine of our entrepreneurs there. I'm thinking Molly Stone's and Bi-Rite, and we're always at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza on Saturdays at the Farmers Market. Come out and get some La Cocina products.

Related posts:

Cross-posted from

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Favorite Have Fun Do Good Books of 2009

Below is my 5th annual list of favorite do-good books that I read in 2009, but this year I'm calling it my Have Fun Do Good Book list. Wahoo! You can also check out my lists from 2005-2008:

Favorite Do-Good Books of 2008
Favorite Do-Good Books of 2007
Favorite Do-Good Books of 2006
Favorite Do-Good Books of 2005

Favorite Have Fun Do Good Books of 2009
(in alphabetical order)

Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam by Zainab Salbi and Laurie Beckland

I had the awesome opportunity to interview the founder of Women for Women International, Zainab Salbi, this year for the Big Vision Podcast. Although I've been a sponsor of a "sister" for the past two years, and am familiar with the organization's work, to prepare for the interview I read her riveting memoir, Between Two Worlds. She's a super special lady and I highly recommend the book. You can read a transcript of my interview with Zainab Salbi here.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

This fall I really started thinking about eating animals. I haven't made up my mind for sure about anything yet, but I appreciated his exploration of the issues. I also recommend listening to a podcast interview with Safran Foer on

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones

Van Jones was talking about "green jobs" way before it became a buzzword. I gotta say it. Don't listen Glenn Beck. Listen to Van Jones. Read the book.

Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan

When I heard Stuart Brown talk about the importance of play on the Speaking of Faith podcast in July, it was a real "aha" moment for me. I realized that I needed to make having fun a priority. Playing isn't a luxury, it's a necessity, and we're not going to make the world a better place without it.

The She Spot: Why Women are the Market for Changing the World -- And How to Reach Them by Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen

I also had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Witter this year for the Big Vision Podcast. In the book, Lisa Witter, and co-author Lisa Chen, outline the four C's to use when marketing to women about your issue, or cause: Care, Connect, Control, and Cultivate. I was particularly interested in the idea that what women are looking for is, "a two-for-one. How can they incorporate making the world a better place into their day to day lives?" You can read a transcript of my interview with Lisa Witter here.

29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker

I've been writing about the 29-Day Giving Challenge since
it first began in early 2008, and have known Cami for about that long as well, but I never realized the extent of the pain she endured with her multiple sclerosis until I read her memoir this fall. It made me appreciate even more how transformational intentional giving can be.

Vegan Brunch: Homestyle Recipes Worth Waking Up for - From Asparagus Omelets to Pumpkin Pancakes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

During this time of contemplation about eating animals I've been cooking up a vegan storm, which you can see in my Home Cookin' photo album on Facebook. I just got this cookbook for Christmas, but the two recipes I've made so far, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and Perfect Pancakes have been super yummy.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

I've made three recipes from this one: Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, Deluxe Cocoa Brownies, and Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies. The Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies were the family favorite, but do not eat them before going to bed, or you'll never fall asleep (I know).

Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

What an amazing cookbook. I've made a lot of recipes from this, but the ones I know I'll repeat so far are the Spiced Pita Chips, Plantain and Pinto Stew, and the Red Lentil-Cauliflower Curry. Yum, yum, yum. In fact, I need to finish this post so I can start making Rustic Beans and Mushrooms!

I'd love to hear what have fun do good books you enjoyed reading in 2009.

Cross-posted from

Full disclosure: I did some work for Green for All to help spread the word about The Green Collar Economy to other bloggers when it came out. I'm friends with Cami Walker and am mentioned in 29 Gifts. I received review copies of 29 Gifts and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Conscious Cosmetics Recommendations?

Over the holiday break I watched the documentary, America the Beautiful: Is America Obsessed with Beauty? Although the film's main story was about 12-year old runway model, Gerren Taylor, the part that stayed with me the most was the reporting about all of the scary chemicals in beauty products. Yikes!

One of my have fun do good resolutions for 2010 is to find healthier beauty products. Ideally, they would be low on the sketchy chemical scale for humans, not tested on animals, safe to go down the drain, reasonably priced, and work! I'm sorry, but crystal deodorant has never worked for me, and my super curly hair requires a product with power.

I would love any "conscious cosmetics" recommendations you have for these items:
  • Shampoo for curly hair
  • Heavy duty curly hair conditioner
  • Heavy duty curly hair gel/something to keep it from going crazy!
  • Hand/body lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Lipstick/lip gloss
  • Nail polish & remover
  • Mascara
I read about one cool company, PeaceKeeper Causemetics, on tranquility du jour that seems like a possible source for lipstick and nail polish. I've also used Zoya nail polish before and been happy with it. I'm also going to do some searching for ideas on Big Green Purse, green LA girl, and Treehugger, and Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano looks like it might have some good resources too.

What are your conscious cosmetics recommendations? I'm also open to making some stuff myself, if it's not too complicated.

P.S. You can check out how your products rate on the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Safety Database.

Image from Matte Nail Polish - It's Baaaack and Zoya Nail Polish has the best of it on

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