Greetings from Sustainable Brands 2013!

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The following post is by Katie Peige, Herban Lifestyle’s Sustainability Associate.

This year, I was most fortunate to be a volunteer again at the Sustainable Brands Conference from June 3-6. I cannot begin to articulate how excited I was to spend four days amongst the leaders of the Sustainable Business and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement.

SB is held in San Diego at Paradise Point which is an island resort. Last year, I stayed nearby and had my first Airbnb experience, which was wonderful, but this time I stayed on the island with a fellow SB volunteer alum, so I did not miss a second of action! The conference is a four-day, packed-to-the-gills extravaganza that included over 180 speakers on panels, workshops, and TED-esque presentations, an expo that included over 80 vendors, and what seemed to be an infinite amount of networking opportunities and side events, including a yoga paddleboard session!

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This year, I was so excited to see that William McDonough was a speaker and was signing his book, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability- Designing for Abundance. McDonough is the father of the cradle to cradle concept, and one of my all time heroes. I was also in line to get Hunter Lovins’ signature for her new book, The Way Out- Kick-starting Capitalism to Save our Economic Ass.

Last year I was blown away by the keynotes from Chipotle, Coca-Cola, the Shelton Group, and many more. You can watch videos of the plenary sessions online. You can also check out @SustainBrands or myself @theKatiePages on Twitter for info on the conference. I will be back with a full report of my experience!

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Simple Advice for Healthy Skin

Skin Detox unscented soap made with organic oils and cosmetic clay

Skin Detox unscented soap made with organic oils and cosmetic clay

Hi Mary,

Nice to make your virtual acquaintance! I was talking with our friend, Sarah, recently about natural skin care solutions – I don’t really know a lot about the subject, but I’ve found myself buying more and more expensive products while wondering if there’s a better way to take care of my skin. I asked Sarah if she had ever tried any homemade skin solutions, and she referred me to you 🙂

My biggest trouble is moisturizing – my skin seems to dry out a lot, and I also get small, single hives on my face pretty regularly, which exacerbates the redness and irritation. Do you know of anything that might calm that down?

Katie

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Hi Katie,

I don’t claim to be an expert on skin care, but I can point you in the right direction. I have had a long-time routine of washing my face with just soap (real soap made with oils, not commercial “soap” which is actually petroleum-based detergent), then using a light moisturizer. The simpler, the better. I also stay away from foundation, which tends to clog my pores and dry out my skin.

Many facial products contain chemicals that can dry out and irritate your skin. I recommend that you check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, which lists various personal care products that don’t contain harsh chemicals. You can also look up the ingredients in your current products to see if they are associated with irritation, etc.

Also, it seems that our skin is like the canary in the coal mine, letting us know that something we are putting on our skin or in our bodies is hurting our systems in a bigger way. Here are links to a couple of articles on the most commonly found harmful ingredients in personal care products, one from Care2 and the other from Mother Earth Living magazine.

It also helps to keep an eye on your diet. You might want to keep a food diary for a month to see if there are any correlations between what you are eating and any hives you develop. I, for example, have found that if I eat certain foods, I am more prone to breakouts or hives the same or following day.

Hope this helps, and please feel free to ask me to clarify any of this.

Thanks!
Mary

So You’re Planning an Eco-Friendly Wedding…

By Outreach and Operations Associate, Lisa Seyfried

I’m getting married later this summer (which is suddenly fast approaching!) and I thought I would share some of the tips I’ve learned about trying to plan an eco-friendly wedding! We also made it a crafty wedding, including making all the bouquets.

From the beginning, we made it a priority to use as little new stuff as possible.  Why buy fancy vases when you can reuse wine bottles from your recycle bin? Why buy plates when you can find so many at thrift stores?

There is so much out there about what you need to buy or have to make the perfect wedding, and the truth is you don’t need any of it! All you need is what will make the atmosphere you want, and that is simple enough to find recycled.

So here’s what we did:

  1. Almost all of our decorations (center pieces and various decorations around thevenue) were made from recycled materials. We saved wine bottles to use for the center pieces, old jars to use as extra candle holders, and made art out of canvasses that we already had and wine corks.  There were a few things that we bought like the tulle to hang on the ceiling beams, but we did our best to make something new out of something old.

    Wine Bottle Candle Holder

    Part of the centerpieces, minus the gravel and the painting. But you get the idea!

  2. Our cups, napkins, and forks are all made from biodegradable or compostable materials.  We were not about to try to thrift 130 plates and 130 glasses (ok, what held us back was the thought of washing 130 glasses after the wedding…) so we looked around for other options.  We found a number of great places online to buy eco-friendly party wares
  3. We thrifted for our plates and vases to use for outdoors.  This was a ton of fun for us! We scoured thrift stores to find funky plates for all our guests.  We had planned to find our tablecloths this way too, but found that the places we looked didn’t have tablecloths that would fit our tables.

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    Just of a few of the great plates we found. We have almost every color and lots of great patterns in our plate stash.

  4. Our paper for the invitations, programs, menus and anything else was all recycled paper.  We couldn’t find a way around not having programs, so we did the best we could here! We also encouraged guests to RSVP online to save a little extra paper.
  5. Our caterer uses only locally sourced, in season foods to make up the menu. Some of the places that they purchase bread/meat are the same places that we shop at the farmer’s market.  I call that a win.

There are definitely places where we just couldn’t think through any more options, and so did not get as eco-friendly as we’d like.  It’s also a lot to go up against – everyone has opinions about what you need to have and how it should be.  Some things were just battles we were ok not winning (recycled paper napkins are almost as good, and much less hassle, than buying 130 cloth napkins!), and others we put our feet down.  It’s all about what matters most, and what makes the most sense for you to spend time/money/energy on!

Wine Bottle Candle Holder

We even found a use for the tops of the bottles!

What are some of your eco-friendly wedding tips? How do you think we did?

Hello Again, DC: Everything Old is New Again

The 1922 Lincoln Model 117 Seven-passenger Sedan

The 1922 Lincoln Model 117 Seven-passenger Sedan

My great-grandfather bought one of the first Ford motor vehicles available for the mass market in the U.S., and my grandfather was brand loyal, owning nothing but Fords throughout his long lifetime.

Named after President Lincoln, the Lincoln automotive company was founded in 1917. Their rival Ford Motor Company purchased Lincoln in 1922. Fast-forward to December 2012, when Ford changed the name of the Lincoln division to the Lincoln Motor Company, granting it its own design, product development and sales teams. And now they are celebrating this new era in their 90-year history of making cars by re-introducing the Lincoln Motor Company, and unveiling their new take on the luxury automobile.

Through the “Hello, Again” tour, Lincoln is introducing a series of projects with artists who share their vision of re-imagining the past to create something new and innovative. Herban Lifestyle has been invited, along with other select local artisans, to be part of the Hello Again, DC event from June 6-16. Tours are available Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00am – 4:00pm and 6:00pm – 10:00pm. You can sign up for this event, including a test drive and interactive tour of DC, by visiting the Hello Again website.

During your tour, you’ll be given behind-the-scenes access to the Pleasant Pops mixing rooms to exercise your imagination and blend unique flavors. You will experience a private art drive as you cruise through an 18th-century alley curated by local artists. You will have a chance to touch and smell various herbs, spices and other ingredients Herban Lifestyle uses in our products. And you will have the opportunity to vote for your favorite flavor combination to be used in our new products to be launched later this year!

An assortment of Pleasant Pops

An assortment of Pleasant Pops | Image ©Pleasant Pops

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Hello Again, DC

Besides our shared respect for history, design, and innovation, I applaud Ford and the Lincoln Motor Company for making great strides in building environmental sustainability into their business models and their vehicles.

The 2013 MKZ Hybrid operates up to 62 miles per hour on electric power alone, using no fuel and has an EPA-estimated 45 city/hwy combined mpg. And here is a website that outlines some of the sustainability efforts that Ford, Lincoln Motor Company’s parent company is undertaking. This website lists Ford’s Top 10 green initiatives of 2008, including their Dearborn Truck Plant, which has the World’s Largest Living Roof (10.4-acres) according to Guinness World Records, and their leadership in being the first U.S. auto company to use 100% recycled fabric seating surfaces. And this website lists their Top 10 for 2011.

Lincoln 2013 MKZ Hybrid

Lincoln 2013 MKZ Hybrid

You can sign up to be a part of the fun and innovative Hello Again, DC event at the Hello Again website.