In praise of Whole Foods … or, I blame the hippies.

Long have I praised the good name of Whole Foods to my friends and on this blog for its wealth of natural resources when it comes to beauty, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve felt somewhat judged for my devotion to the establishment. But I get it- Whole Foods can be a real hotbed of pretentious bobos. I find myself throwing massive shade at the folks wandering around the place every time I visit. Wealthy forty-somethings driving their nice cars, fresh from their CrossFit workouts, making a quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up their certified organic produce that costs ten dollars per pound, or their preservative-free kale chips, or their Vegenaise, and other things that make life not much fun. Buuuut my allegiance to Whole Foods, or at least the health and beauty department, cannot be denied. Like the need for a tax increase on Bod Man body spray for men, it cannot be denied.

I didn’t exactly stumble into a Whole Foods one day and then just fall in love with what I found there. In fact, I’m sure it was quite the opposite. I recall health food stores in the nineties being more associated with the blue-haired folk, trying to preserve the last signs of life and vitality (along with their colon). But then something happened with the turn of the century, and I think it was Al Gore (which kind of spoils the fun), but suddenly “green” became the hip thing to do. Green was everywhere. Green cars, green food sourcing, and green beauty. I can’t remember exactly what started me down my journey of green beauty, but it’s come to my attention in recent years (I’ve been trying to go green for about five) that Whole Foods is thee mecca for effective green beauty brands. Here, a look at my local (and HUGE) Whole Foods:


My particular store that I go to is pretty big, but that’s good news for all of us because the selection is overwhelming in the most awesome way. There’s every kind of “green” brand that you may find in Target or a drugstore, but keep in mind that a lot of these brands suffer from what folks call “green washing”, or the appearance that the product is safe and natural but doesn’t contain a list of truly trustworthy ingredients. The packaging or container might be biodegradable, but perhaps the actual product isn’t. Or there maybe are a select amounts of organic oils within the product, but the rest of it is made of synthetic crap like everything else. Your best strategy- learn to read a list of ingredients and educate yourself on some of the most risky ingredients found in body and beauty products. This kind of information is available easily with just a Google search. I also highly recommend reading The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel. I love brands like Weleda, Dr. Bronner’s, Desert Essence Organics (at least for their face products, but not for hair), and John Masters Organics for their very clean ingredients.


Some of the skincare brands found at Whole Foods (and Sprout’s or Mother’s Market, too) can be pricier compared to, say, an eight-dollar bottle of Neutrogena moisturizer, but I’m convinced it’s worth it. Some will argue that their skin does just as well with a drugstore brand and that there isn’t a need to switch to greener products, but I say if you can cut out any shady chemical ingredients (with links to early-onset Alzheimer’s and various cancers) while maintaining great skin for a few dollars more, why not?!


If you do enough reading on blogs or in magazines associated with beauty, you’ll begin to memorize the names of a few cult products that celebrities and artists swear by (but I’ve still yet to understand why Maybelline’s Great Lash mascara has such a stellar reputation … I hate that stuff!). One such product is this stuff called Egyptian Magic, a pomade kind of thing loaded with honey and different kinds of oils that treats the skin beautifully when slathered on regularly. However, a jar of it will set you back somewhere close to forty bucks! But check out the product that’s always sitting right next to it- Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic. The ingredient list is exactly the same and it costs half the price of Egyptian Magic. So while you’re foregoing the idea of owning the Egyptian Magic cult-favorite elixir, you’re getting a way better deal with Sweet Bee!


And here, the one product that I swear by for every use under the sun- Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile Soap. This stuff might be one of the most trusted brands among all green health and beauty names, and what’s awesome about it is that it’s truly all-purpose. We use it for body wash, but just yesterday I scrubbed my tub with it, used a bit to wash some dishes, and have even used a bit for washing my clothes when I was low on detergent! You can use it on your baby, your car, anything. And it comes in multiple scents, every one of which you can find at Whole Foods.

Like I’ve said, you can find some of these brands elsewhere (and possibly for a higher price), but you hit all the bases at a Whole Foods. I think they have Burt’s Bees there, too (which has a great reputation) and a whole slew of other lines that I haven’t even tried. If I can convince you to even just change one thing in your routine (and my vote is to start with Dr. Bronner’s), I’ve won! xo, MR

On how I once saw my face in a magazine.

Confession- it has been a gnarly week.  I mean like, knots-and-glue-in-your-hair gnarly.  Family in the ER, intense encounters with students dealing with mental disorders, nightmares about said students, friends dealing with scary situations, hostile customers at work, random disappointments here and there- enough to keep you feeling like painting your nails is pretty meaningless.  But as I reflect on this past week, I’m reminded that small things like painting your nails are blessings that do have meaning.  They’re rituals.  They’re routines that we go through to jog our memories of what we love and how much we have to be thankful for.  They’re routines that remind us of beauty and joy, and that we need to peace and order to function.  Things like that center us and give us rest.

So, I came home on Friday from a long week in much need of that kind of rest.  I was able to wash and blow out my hair (not two things I frequently do together), and draw on some serious Friday night eyeliner (MAC eye kohl in Smolder, and in case you’re wondering, Adam Lambert uses the same stuff so you get the picture).  My husband and I went to a new restaurant in one of our favorite hoods (downtown Fullerton) that did not disappoint, spent time (laughing, belching, sometimes swearing) with a couple of our favorite people over dinner, and watched some It’s Always Sunny.  I ate mac and cheese and played with a cat.  It was good night and I was provided with the exact kind of rest I needed.  But here’s a little somethin’-somethin’ that made coming home yesterday really good … I found this little gem in our mailbox:

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Yes, it was the January 2013(!) issue of InStyle magazine with Amanda Seyfried looking the Grace Kelly kind of classy on the cover.  My heart skipped a beat.  And not only because finding new mags in my mailbox is definitely on my top five list of favorite things ever, but because I also knew that this was the issue that would, in fact, be featuring my face.  And there I was, on page 20, victory rolls and all.  Remember that post that I um … posted?   I know I called them “liberty rolls”, and I suppose their true name, at least according the Andrews Sisters and every Rosie the Riveter out there who kissed a WWII vet, is actually “victory rolls”, but who cares when you’re wearing them in a magazine.  Here I am wearing liberty, no, victory, I mean, here I am wearing WHATEVER ROLLS!

And so I have found my relaxation for the weekend.  Even today, I was able to spend some time catching up with a friend wandering around my lovely neighborhood, and for me, relaxation naturally also comes in the form of stuff like this:

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Face mask, hair mask, completely natural body wash that I (finally) found on sale, and Clarins’ uhhhhh-mazing brightening energy mask known as Beauty Flash Balm that has garnered a cult following of its own.  That’s some ok-now-that-you’ve-rested-let’s-wake-you-the-frack-up beauty routine going on for a Saturday.  And now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to paint my nails.  Because it’s important.  xo, MR