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These Things I Now Know

Twenty Tips for the Twenty-Something #Getitgirl

  1. Do DIY manis with a base coat and top coat. If it doesn’t work, stop stressing and just go to the nail salon. You probably need that, anyway.
  2. If your heart is telling you “no,” listen. If it’s screaming, “YES!” you should probably heed that sucker fast.
  3. Momma don’t always know best, honeybooboochild.
  4. If you get deodorant on your shirt, use a pair of nylons and rub it off. Works every time.
  5. Recognize what makes you happy. Actively acknowledge when it happens. Even if it’s just that you make two green lights in a row or your teacup finishes rotating in the microwave with the handle facing the right way.
  6. Everything in moderation. Carbs, wine, TV, exercise, work, play - it all needs balance.
  7. That does mean you can have candy for dinner. Sometimes.
  8. Don’t ever let anyone put you down for being “too young” or because you’re a woman. The problem is their ignorance, not your double X chromosomes or the number of years since your birth.
  9. Write letters to your grandparents on pretty stationery. They will adore receiving it. You will love it when they write back.
  10. You can create your own destiny. It’s total #getitgirl style. Set your goals high and go for it.
  11. Take off your makeup at night. If you don’t feel like washing your face every night, just use face wipes. Swipe and done.
  12. Ask the mechanic how to check your oil if you don’t already know how. Get your oil changed on a regular basis. Don’t blindly do all of the repairs they tell you. Learn about where your money is going and why.
  13. Keep a filing cabinet with important documents like your tax returns for the last seven years. Lock it.
  14. Spend time with the people you love. Don’t spend time with people who are energysucks.
  15. If you’re still getting big breakouts in your twenties, just talk to your doctor about Accutane. It’s six months of annoyingness that will make a difference for the rest of your life. Trust.
  16. Know your priorities. If you’d rather spend your money on vacations, live in a crappier apartment. If you need a place of beautiful solace every day, get a better place and staycation it up.
  17. Get suspicious moles checked out.
  18. Carry a small pepper spray on your keychain. You won’t regret it in an emergency. Also keep a few tampons, safety pins and hair ties in your purse.
  19. Scare yourself sometimes by doing something you didn’t think you could do. Start a blog, pick up an old instrument, call a long lost friend.
  20. Enjoy the little things. Like making lists and liking Tumblr posts.
Finding the right products to make the switch to an eco lifestyle can be a challenge. After locating the green cleaning section, how can you make an educated decision with everyone throwing around the words “eco,” “earth-friendly,” “natural” and “organic”? Better World Shopper is a great tool for the savvy consumer. Both online and as an iPhone app, Better World Shopper makes educated shopping easy, giving brands a letter grade based on how they treat people and the environment.
Seventh Generation and Method both get an "A+" grade, meaning “These companies are social and environmental leaders in their categories.” A green convert for almost three years, I stand by these brands and can vouch for their effectiveness. Each product featured here not only gets an A+ for being eco, they also get an A+ for cleaning power, smell, strength and price.
These tried-and-true product picks are available at many retailers nationwide, including Target and Whole Foods. You can also shop online if you click through the links below. Saving green and cleaning green can now live in the same eco world.
1) Method Gel Hand Wash Refill Easy on the hands, tough on bacteria and available in numerous scents. Buy it in bulk with the new refill packs to save packaging from landfills, too!
2) Method Squirt + Mop Wood for Good in Almond Just squirt and swipe with your favorite reusable mop pad. Not only does it clean effectively, the delicious almond scent fills your home with a warm feeling.
3) Method Antibac Kitchen Spray in Lemon Verbena Kill the germs and leave your kitchen smelling fresh with this powerful spray. So easy to use you’ll forget you’re also saving the environment.
4) Method Antibac Bathroom Spray in Spearmint Cuts through the hairspray buildup and soap scum in a single wipe while simultaneously cutting through any stale odors. Fresh spearmint really makes the bathroom air feel as clean as the countertops!
5) Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes Great for an on-the-go clean in the car or at your desk. Just pull a wipe, swipe and you’re done.
6) Method Lil’ Bowl Blu’ Toilet Bowl Cleaner in Eucalyptus Mint Unsightly toilet bowl rings? Tired of the burn of bleach in your nostrils when scrubbing the toilet? Lil’ Bowl Blu’ takes care of all of this and even has a fun name. Winner for you, your toilet and our world.
7) Seventh Generation Tall Kitchen Trash Bags Because we can’t recycle everything, Seventh Generation makes taking out the trash a little less unsightly. This eco option is strong enough to carry out the junk but is made from 100% recycled materials.
Find my eco picks for laundry, dishes and more in the Healthy Living tab of AmbitionS!

Finding the right products to make the switch to an eco lifestyle can be a challenge. After locating the green cleaning section, how can you make an educated decision with everyone throwing around the words “eco,” “earth-friendly,” “natural” and “organic”? Better World Shopper is a great tool for the savvy consumer. Both online and as an iPhone app, Better World Shopper makes educated shopping easy, giving brands a letter grade based on how they treat people and the environment.

Seventh Generation and Method both get an "A+" grade, meaning “These companies are social and environmental leaders in their categories.” A green convert for almost three years, I stand by these brands and can vouch for their effectiveness. Each product featured here not only gets an A+ for being eco, they also get an A+ for cleaning power, smell, strength and price.

These tried-and-true product picks are available at many retailers nationwide, including Target and Whole Foods. You can also shop online if you click through the links below. Saving green and cleaning green can now live in the same eco world.

1) Method Gel Hand Wash Refill Easy on the hands, tough on bacteria and available in numerous scents. Buy it in bulk with the new refill packs to save packaging from landfills, too!

2) Method Squirt + Mop Wood for Good in Almond Just squirt and swipe with your favorite reusable mop pad. Not only does it clean effectively, the delicious almond scent fills your home with a warm feeling.

3) Method Antibac Kitchen Spray in Lemon Verbena Kill the germs and leave your kitchen smelling fresh with this powerful spray. So easy to use you’ll forget you’re also saving the environment.

4) Method Antibac Bathroom Spray in Spearmint Cuts through the hairspray buildup and soap scum in a single wipe while simultaneously cutting through any stale odors. Fresh spearmint really makes the bathroom air feel as clean as the countertops!

5) Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes Great for an on-the-go clean in the car or at your desk. Just pull a wipe, swipe and you’re done.

6) Method Lil’ Bowl Blu’ Toilet Bowl Cleaner in Eucalyptus Mint Unsightly toilet bowl rings? Tired of the burn of bleach in your nostrils when scrubbing the toilet? Lil’ Bowl Blu’ takes care of all of this and even has a fun name. Winner for you, your toilet and our world.

7) Seventh Generation Tall Kitchen Trash Bags Because we can’t recycle everything, Seventh Generation makes taking out the trash a little less unsightly. This eco option is strong enough to carry out the junk but is made from 100% recycled materials.

Find my eco picks for laundry, dishes and more in the Healthy Living tab of AmbitionS!

Letter from the Editor: It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Living a green lifestyle isn’t always the easiest thing to do. While I have found some of my favorite eco brands and stick to them, I have a confession: I’m not perfect.

Every once in a while, I buy products that aren’t the brightest bulbs on the green living tree. I don’t always buy organic, I do have an aerosol hairspray, and I spray RAID because I can’t stand spiders.

However, I am a Better World Shopper devotee. I use Method's cleaning products ("A+ grade"), I’m Gap, Piperlime, and Banana Republic's biggest fan ("B grade"), and I shop at the local produce market ("A+ grade") whenever I can. I’m always looking for ways to improve my green factor and love finding new products that meet my standards.

I don’t beat myself up over the occasional “misstep” on my green journey. The important thing is that I am moving in the right direction. If everyone starts making small changes to their daily routine, imagine what we can accomplish.

You can trust that every green product I blog about here is tried and true. That means that it works well and meets my persnickety taste- so it’s something you can trust, too.

While “eco perfection” is a fairly elusive goal for the on-the-go, urban lifestyle many of us live, every little bit counts. Every little step you take, every little step I take, every little step we encourage another friend to take adds up to make a big difference.

Sincerely,

Sarah

"Smarter, Easier, Greener"

Method is well-known for their fresh take on cleaning supplies, but what many people don’t know is that they are also one of the greenest companies out there. Their “A+ grade” from Better World Shopper says it all- social and environmental responsibility at its finest!

Free + Clear Laundry Detergent is one of my favorites. The super-concentrated, plant-based formula is conveniently packaged in a pump, much like hand soap! My small, apartment stack washer and dryer only takes two squirts- three for big loads. No messy measuring cups, no granules to spill all over the floor.

Another perk is the small package size. Not only does it fit easily on top of my laundry stack, it also weighs very little compared to traditional detergent containers, making laundry even easier. Another benefit? The container is made of 50% recycled material!

Most importantly, my clothes always come out clean and fresh and my skin is never irritated. For those who like an aromatic take to laundry, the five other scents, from Fresh Air to Peony Blossom, are sure to please.

You can find Method products in stores nationwide or on their website. Method laundry detergent costs only $15.49 for 50 loads (if you use four pumps per wash), making this product a great deal all around.

Choose the brand that will do right by you, your cleaning needs, and the environment. Shop Method today!

Packaging with a Purpose

Last week, the FDA unveiled changes to cigarette packages required to be in place by October 2012. This is the first major change to cigarette packing in the US in 25 years, and is a graphic reminder of the risks associated with smoking. Tobacco use causes 443,000 deaths every year and costs the US almost $200 billion annually on medical costs and lost productivity.

Big-impact packs

The nine new labels include statements such as “WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer” and “WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease,” accompanied by graphic photos of, for example, a smoker’s cancerous sores or a comparison of healthy and diseased lungs. The example to the left depicts someone smoking through a hole in his throat and says, “WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive.” These new warnings will also be required to cover the top 20% of cigarette ads.

Advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids explains that “the current warnings are more than 25 years old, go unnoticed on the side of cigarette packs, and fail to effectively communicate the serious health risks of smoking.”

Since the new labels cover half of the front and back of every pack with big-print messages and big-impact photos, the hope is that fewer people will start and more people will quit smoking. The number of smokers steadily declined from 40% in 1970 but leveled out to 20% in 2004. There are currently approximately 46 million smokers in the United States today.

Does the new packaging work?

Studies show these packages are effective, as 25% of adults report that the new labels warnings led them to contemplate quitting. The FDA estimates the new labels will encourage 213,000 people to quit by 2012, with smaller numbers continuing to do so through 2031.

If you or a loved one wants to quit, there are numerous online resources and support groups to make it easier. Smokefree.gov is one website that can help. Encourage your loved ones to quit and help make America a nation with less nicotine.

Changing up your workout routine on a regular basis keeps things fun and also gives your muscles new challenges, which helps you get toned even faster! Tennis has low start-up costs and is a fun way to work out with friends. All you need is a racket, some tennis balls, and a sweatband for when things get intense! Tennis can be a great upper- and lower-body workout and breaks the monotony of working out alone.
 Check out these affordable finds below to get the ball rolling on your newest athletic adventure!




Penn Pressureless 12-Ball Mesh Bag$14 - amazon.com
Adidas Interval Reversible Headband$11 - amazon.com
Wilson Triumph Tennis Racquet$20 - amazon.com

Changing up your workout routine on a regular basis keeps things fun and also gives your muscles new challenges, which helps you get toned even faster! Tennis has low start-up costs and is a fun way to work out with friends. All you need is a racket, some tennis balls, and a sweatband for when things get intense! Tennis can be a great upper- and lower-body workout and breaks the monotony of working out alone.

 
Check out these affordable finds below to get the ball rolling on your newest athletic adventure!


Penn Pressureless 12-Ball Mesh Bag
$14 - amazon.com

Adidas Interval Reversible Headband
$11 - amazon.com

Wilson Triumph Tennis Racquet
$20 - amazon.com

Artificially Sweet

Truvia, an artifical sweetener touted as “honestly sweet,” is hitting the market hard with plenty of advertising specifically targeting healthy, green people who want to eat right and do right. With claims for corporate responsibility and celebrity endorsements geared toward a natural lifestyle, Truvia seems like the sweetest thing around. But is it too good to be true?

Truvia is manufactured by Cargill, a behemoth marketer and producer for products of all kinds. The Rainforest Action Network, or RAN, is an organization dedicated to the environment and a longtime critic of Cargill. This raises the question: how “honestly sweet” can Truvia really be?

RAN’s biggest criticism of Cargill is their irresponsibility surrounding palm oil. Cargill uses 25% of the world’s palm oil, notoriously connected with deforestation and human rights violations. RAN has been campaigning for years, encouraging Cargill to make changes, with no real response from Cargill despite persistent attempts from RAN and its supporters.

While Truvia’s promises to reduce their carbon footprint and waste production sound wonderful, the fact remains that Truvia is a part of Cargill. As consumers, it is difficult to evaluate corporate claims of responsibility. My trusted source for educated shopping, Better World Shopper, which takes an unbiased look at companies’ social and environmental responsibility, does not yet have an evaluation of Truvia since it is new to the market.

For the time being, I’m sticking to Splenda, which gets a “B grade” from Better World Shopper and is calorie-free, just like Truvia, but also keeps my conscience free from worry about deforestation and human rights violations.

I recommend buying the Better World Shopper book or iPhone app, which have comprehensive product evaluations for educated shopping on the go. Make yourself an educated shopper today! Don’t just buy into commercials that sound good without making sure they really are. Educated shopping: now that is honestly sweet.

The Coffee Mug That Goes Full Circle

Aladdin is truly “delightfully different.” Their food and drink storage solutions are changing the way people look at food and its portability. Have you met Aladdin?

With a strong focus on reusing and recycling, BPA-free products, and beautifully functional solutions, Aladdin has been an industry pioneer for over a century. Their coffee mugs, water bottles, lunch bowls, and other unique products are all designed with healthy living in mind. Packing your own lunch and brewing your own coffee not only saves you money but also helps keep unnecessary packaging out of landfills. Better storage options for a healthy lunch can also encourage better eating habits- no more wilted salads.

My favorite Aladdin product is their Transform Recycled & Recyclable Mug. It is made from 97% recycled food-grade polypropylene and is recyclable itself. The 16 oz. size is only $9.99, and since it’s dishwasher- and microwave-safe, you can easily enjoy plenty of hot beverages day after day. The pretty color choices and sleek design mean you’ll never get tired of your mug, either!

Made from recycled products, easy to reuse, and recyclable: this coffee mug really does go full circle. You can find Aladdin products online or at many popular retailers. Check out this eco company’s products to make your healthy living routine a little easier- and colorful- before you toss another paper cup or takeout bag in the trash.

Method is a company unlike any other. Their cleaning supplies are good for you, the environment- and your sense of smell! As an added bonus, their “A+” grade from Better World Shopper will make you feel good and clean in every way.
My favorite Method product is their gel hand wash refill. It helps save packaging from filling up landfills  and even smells refreshingly clean. The gel hand wash comes in six different scents, including sea minerals and pink grapefruit, my favorites. It won’t make a big dent in your wallet, either, at  only $6.49 for a full liter.
Method has a wide variety of cleaning supplies you can feel good about using in your home. Check out their website, facebook, twitter, and blog for the latest and greatest from a truly green cleaning machine: Method.

Method is a company unlike any other. Their cleaning supplies are good for you, the environment- and your sense of smell! As an added bonus, their “A+” grade from Better World Shopper will make you feel good and clean in every way.

My favorite Method product is their gel hand wash refill. It helps save packaging from filling up landfills and even smells refreshingly clean. The gel hand wash comes in six different scents, including sea minerals and pink grapefruit, my favorites. It won’t make a big dent in your wallet, either, at only $6.49 for a full liter.

Method has a wide variety of cleaning supplies you can feel good about using in your home. Check out their website, facebook, twitter, and blog for the latest and greatest from a truly green cleaning machine: Method.

Pack Some PocketBac

No one likes getting a summertime cold.  This season, pack some hand sanitizer in your purse to use while you’re out and keep your patsies clean!

Bath & Body Works' Antibacterial PocketBac Sanitizing Hand Gel is a great way to clean your hands. The small, cute containers fit easily into nearly every size of purse and the delicious smell is a welcome burst of freshness.

The PocketBac Spring Faves Bundle includes Island Margarita, Lavender, Caribbean Escape, Aqua Blossom, Eucalyptus Mint scents and is currently on sale for $5 for the five mini bottles. These hand sanitizers also keep your hands moisturized with Tahitian palm milk.

PocketBac is a great solution for a girl-on-the-go. Bath & Body Works can be shopped online and in stores all across the nation. Use a teaspoon-sized dollop while you’re out to be rid of icky bacteria and viruses to keep yourself cold-free this summer!

Dear 16-Year-Old Me,

You need to use a base coat and top coat if you want your DIY mani to work. That guy is not cool or cute at all, but your soul mate is literally right around the corner- you just haven’t met him yet. Enjoy wearing those denim minis now because they are wildly inappropriate later, and you won’t have to wear UGGs your whole life because you will move to California and love it.

And, sixteen-year-old me, going tanning is a bad idea. I promise that your self-tanner skills will improve with practice.

Love,

Sarah

P.S. Pass along this Youtube video to anyone who is sixteen, was sixteen, or will be someday. You could help save a life. Melanoma is serious. Check your skin.