MY WEEK OF LIVING ORGANIC

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With the current trend of “sustainable fashion” and “living a greener lifestyle,” I embarked on a personal “adventure” this week to live a more organic lifestyle. As a professional ballet dancer and fashion blogger, I do exercise daily, eat healthy, recycle, and choose paper rather than plastic, but I thought it would be interesting to infuse into my daily life a more organic and natural way of living. I did not take any time off from work or my normal activities, but simply researched living an organic lifestyle and figured out easy, beneficial ways to improve my way of living. Let me take you along my journey of discovery and maybe you will see how easy it is to live an organic lifestyle for a much more energetic, healthier, fashionable you.

SUNDAY NIGHT

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After a long six hour rehearsal day preparing for my company Pasadena Dance Theatre’s annual “Nutcracker,” my entire body was sore and I was exhausted. I usually just pop into a quick shower so I can relax in bed longer. This Sunday, however, I pulled out some all natural Epsom Salts, lit my favorite scented candles, turned off the lights, and sunk into a warm bath. I didn’t need any music to feel instantly rejuvenated as I felt each muscle relax and all the stress of the day release. Sometimes I will use “White Noise Lite: Relax,” a free mobile App with sounds of nature to relax and revive, but tonight the silence was a welcome relief. The world around us is noisy enough; it is highly beneficial to our well being to just take a moment of silence or quiet contemplation. I think we wouldn’t need as much medicine, caffeine, or therapists, and we would get a lot more done in our lives if we just take a little break. I was amazed at how calm and relaxed I felt after just the fifteen minutes of soaking, and I had a peaceful, rejuvenating night’s sleep as well. I could get used to organic living.

MONDAY

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Up bright and early Monday morning, I usually just have coffee to kickstart my morning. Today, however, taking the advice of dietitians, I opted for a healthy all organic fruit salad from my local market to boost my metabolism. I can’t do without a cup of coffee, but since I’m a little caffeine sensitive, I opted for Trader Joe’s Decaf coffee flavored with organic milk and organic sugar. I like Trader Joe’s because the store is less complicated than Whole Foods, the customer service is always helpful, they use all paper bags (or you can bring your own), and the company works closely with local farmers for the freshest, most organic produce and food.

photo 3Off to a great start in my organic week, I broke for a “lunch break” by taking a walk around the local park. Usually, I just eat lunch at my desk and keep working, but today, I opted to take a one hour break. The outside air was wonderful and it felt great to stretch my legs and get a little exercise. Again, I didn’t listen to anything but the sounds of nature as I walked. I even cleared my mind of all the looming work projects, rehearsals, and activities for the week, and rested my mind. Upon returning from my lunch break, I felt revived to start work again. Around 3:00pm, I noticed that I didn’t feel my usual “afternoon slump” but felt re-energized to continue work until 6:00. It really is true that healthy eating COMBINED WITH exercise work hand-in-hand to boost metabolism and endorphins for a more balanced, fit life.

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On Tuesday, I ventured out to an organic, vegan restaurant I have not been to yet, but heard great things about, “The Rabbit Hole Cafe.” In an all “Alice in Wonderland” theme, the restaurant was a pleasant surprise. The menu includes all organic and vegan fare, as well as raw items, and also includes a small store in which to buy your own organic products. I opted to try the popular “Queen of Hearts” salad, made with quinoa, chickpeas, and beets served over a bed of mixed greens, an all vegan and organic choice. The salad was delicious, even for non-vegan lovers, and the flavors were perfectly blended. I finished off my meal with the new popular “Cheshire Cat” smoothie, a blend of Dragon fruit, mango, banana, dates, purple cabbage, pineapple, and coconut milk, perfectly blended and delicious. In addition to the great lunch, the staff was helpful and friendly, and the service was quick and efficient. The “Alice in Wonderland” theme is a delight, and a great way to introduce children and diners leery of the “organic” world. Another great raw and vegan restaurant I love is “Sun Cafe” in Studio City. Their raw, vegan shakes and pizzas are so delicious that you forget you are eating an all raw meal. When in L.A., these two top-notch restaurants are a must. I encourage you to try your local organic vegan restaurant. Vegan chefs today are taking menus to a whole new level, and once you try a more natural way of eating, a Big Mac will sound so much less appealing.

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 WEDNESDAY

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Even with all the healthy organic eating this week, I felt a little mid-week slump on “Hump Day.” For lunch hour, I opted to try a Yoga class. Being a professional dancer, I take regular ballet class almost everyday so in my off times, I rarely “hit the gym” or try other classes. However, I know that many swear to Yoga and Pilates, so I gave it a try. Feeling tired and unmotivated, I tried the Hatha Yoga class at 1:30pm at Source Yoga in Santa Barbara, CA, which concentrates on deep breathing, finding your center core, and relaxation. After an hour, I was thoroughly relaxed and energized. My headache and backache had gone away, and I felt ready to take on the rest of the work day without the aid of aspirin or caffeine. I will DEFINITELY be adding Yoga to my weekly schedule after this wonderful treat. Next, I opted to take a ballet class at Elite Dance to stay in shape and boost my metabolism. By the end of the day, I felt relaxed, energized, and accomplished. After today, I realize that exercise AND contemplation go hand-in-hand to keep an organic, strong, fit, yet mentally and emotionally balanced body.

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THURSDAY

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Halloween is just around the corner! A great last minute yet festive way to decorate for the season is visiting your local farmer’s market or Pumpkin Patch. Decorate your home for the holidays organically with fresh pumpkins and gourds and support your local farmer’s produce and farms. I visited the McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch in Ventura County, serving the community for over 30 years. In addition to the thousands of pumpkin and gourds for sale, they also provide field trips for children and schools as a way of educating the next generation about farming and organic living. You can also use your fresh pumpkins to make delicious organic recipes for entertaining or just for yourself. I love the fresh pumpkin smoothie; the anti-oxidants in a pumpkin will kickstart your day. Or try roasted pumpkin seeds as a tasty mid-afternoon snack. And of course, it would not seem quite like Fall without a luscious organic pumpkin pie. After selecting my favorite orange and white pumpkins, I hurried home to decorate for Halloween, lit my favorite organic candles, and settled into a night of  “American Horror Story” for a frightfully festive evening.

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FRIDAY

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On Friday, I visited one of the most popular Farmer’s Markets, “The Original Farmer’s Market” at The Grove in Los Angeles. The Farmer’s Market was established in 1934, through the inspiration of two local entrepreneurs Fred Beck and Roger Dahlhjelm. What began as a few dozen farmers and local merchants selling their produce has now grown into a “must-see” attraction for visitors around the world. L.A.’s “Original Farmer’s Market” includes local produce, as well as fresh bakeries, fish and meat markets, cafes, restaurants, and merchandise.

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I started with the fresh produce section, and decided to buy local for my evening dinner. Grabbing fresh organic spinach, tomatoes, carrots, feta cheese, and squash, I then hurried home to a create an all organic dinner salad. I was amazed at how fresh, vibrant, and flavorful the fresh salad was, as compared to salad from a restaurant or the local grocery. I could actually taste, in full, the many wonderful flavors of each vegetable and felt completely satisfied, happy to start the weekend healthy, fresh, and organic.

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After the week’s “organic living,” I came to realize that living organically is not just a once-a-week activity, but a lifestyle. Making little changes such as buying local, shopping organic, taking Yoga, and daily exercising greatly reduced my normal weekly stress, and I found I was able to handle the daily challenges better, make conscious decisions, and sleep better at night. I also noticed that my energy level increased, and I even dropped a few pounds. Living organically is not hard, time consuming, or costly, yet the benefits to healthy organic living are priceless. After this week’s experiment, I am definitely going to make a permanent lifestyle change to eat organic, exercise daily, and enroll in a Yoga class for a healthier, happier new organic life.

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THINK GREEN, LIVE GREEN, LOVE GREEN: SUSTAINABLE FASHION

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Sustainable fashion is coming more to the forefront across the fashion and design industries of late. When I think about conservation and “Going Green,” my first thoughts are to remember to put my plastic water bottles in the recycle bin, buy paper rather than plastic, turn off unused lights, and minimize water usage. However, the fashion industry today is also stepping up to the forefront by discovering new ways the consumer can stay fashionable and trendy, and still save the Earth’s resources. My search led me to discover many mainstream fashion and home decorating designers and companies doing their part for our world by using recycled materials and natural products in their fashion and designs. I am amazed at the creativity and ingenuity that designers are now creating with their products. “Going Green” doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, time-consuming, or boring. It is time for us to start thinking globally about how we can sustain the Earth’s resources in all areas of our lives, including fashion and design. Check out some of our favorite finds here at Posh at Play that we support and will be shopping at, staying trendy and Eco Chic all season long.

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STELLA MCCARTNEY

Winner of Britian’s Designer of the Year award without using leather, vegan and cruelty-free designer Stella McCartney is one of the few high-end fashion designers making waves in the fashion industry for sustainable fashion. Celebs like newlywed Amal Alamuddin (now “Clooney”), sporting a Stella McCartney pantsuit and floppy hat, help raise awareness to Stella’s designs, reminding us that we can stay fashionable yet helpful to nature’s resources. Stella McCartney also has developed sustainable fabric designs with last season’s faux croc heels with a biodegradable heel, and this season’s new sustainable and cruelty-free wool, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy and Ovis XXI. While providing us with chic fashion, fragrances, and accessories, Stella McCartney also partners closely with eco-friendly organizations like Ethical Training Initiative, Canopy, National Resources Defense Council, and others. Her fashions can be found at her flagship stores in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, and Dallas or at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman. If you are going  high-end, we suggest sticking to this designer’s chic and sustainable fashion line.

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 REFORMATION

Just in time for the Fall Season, I love Reformation’s newest line of sweaters made from Alpaca wool, a renewable fiber that has a lower environmental impact than most other sweater yarns. The company strives to produce Eco-friendly fashion at an affordable price. They have flagship stores in Los Angeles and New York City, but their online store is just as good. My favorites are the black Collie Alpaca Sweater, perfect to pair with your favorite Hudson skinny jeans, or the Emu Alpaca Sweater, as soft as cashmere but much gentler to Mother Earth.

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ETHICA

We love the online shopping site Ethica, a collection of several designers committed to sustainable fashion all made in safe, healthy environments free of human rights violations such as child labor and sweatshop-like conditions. All fashion and accessories are made with eco-friendly textiles and organic fabrics, low-impact dyes, and recycled materials, often reusing surplus fabrics to reduce waste and water. The great thing about Ethica is you can shop by designer or shop by the item you are looking for, all the while knowing that your time and money help support sustainable fashion and go towards a great cause. I especially love the huge collection of handbags and totes, my favorite being the Moa Tote from Angela Roi. The designer works closely with South Korean ILO- manufactures where US trade agreement provides fair labor laws. With every purchase from this designer, $5 is donated to a corresponding medical charity.

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EDUN

Named  the best handbag seen at New York’s Fashion Week 2015, Edun is a global fashion brand founded by U2’s Bono and wife Ali Hewson in order to promote trade in Africa by sourcing production throughout the continent. Currently 85% of all Edun materials are produced and manufactured in Africa, contributing to trade, jobs, and sustainable fashion. Their unique accessories and jewelry line were a hot item on the runways for this Season. Last Season, Edun partnered with Diesel jeans to produce jean wear exclusively made and marketed in Africa for a 2 Season run. Sourced from the Conservation Cotton Initiative in Uganda, the 35-piece jeans, jackets, shorts, and sweater collection is limited release. Shop now online at Diesel for a unique and exclusive collaboration benefitting fair trade, sustainable fashion, and eco-friendly style. We love the way rock star Bono is using his time, resources, and celebrity status for a great cause, raising awareness across the globe for fair trade and world peace.

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 TEEKI

Build a better body, and also save the Earth with these colorful Teeki yoga pants I came across on Amazon. What first drew me to these pants was the colorful style and interesting patterns rather than the usual grey or black exercise wear found at every store. Then I discovered they are actually made from recycled water bottles. Teeki uses all recycled plastic for all of their sports wear, made in an entirely solar powered facility. With each pair of yoga pants, you help recycle between 18 to 30 water bottles. I love the Teeki company because their mission is to “provide the world with eco-friendly, timeless, forward fashion.” Their fashions are trendy, yet timeless, never boring, and are suitable for exercise, work, play, or beach. If you need to update your exercise wear and want to help out our Earth, let your next purchase be from Teeki.

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LIBERTY GARDEN

From Hale Bob CEO Daniel Bohbot comes Liberty Garden, a fashion line committed to providing a potentially life saving treatment for malaria  patients all over the world. The company’s motto “buy one piece, change one life” is the heart and soul of Liberty Garden. By partnering with Doctors Without Borders, each item of clothing sold goes towards helping to prevent and cure malaria in Africa and other countries around the world. Liberty Garden’s collection includes chic tops, bottoms, dresses, and sweaters, along the lines of Hale Bob fashion. We love that successful CEO Daniel Bohbot is using his success to help bring about health and healing to those suffering from this crippling disease around the world and pursuing sustainable fashion.

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TIEKS BALLERINA FLAT

Featured in our last blog “Step into Fall, Tieks’ ballerina flats are not only chic, but also sustainable fashion through their work to empower woman for positive change. These comfortable yet stylish ballerina flats pair perfectly with jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, suitable for work, play, or an evening out, and easily fold into your purse or pocket for durability, economy, and efficiency. Through The Gavrieli Foundation the company is committed to empowering women entrepreneurs all over the globe as a means of social change. A portion of Tieks’ sales go towards selected women around the world who are making positive changes in their communities, creating jobs, and reducing poverty for families and workers in their countries. Each time you step out in a chic pair of Tieks’ ballerina flats, you know you are doing your part to help women and families around the world.

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CITIZENS OF HUMANITY

One of our designers at here at Posh at Play, Citizens of Humanity founder Jerome Dahan is committed to using his success to inspire, encourage, and support the next generation of young artists, creators, designers, and passionate “citizens of humanity.” Dahan says “As the company’s name suggests, our mission is to showcase the energy and passion of creative individuals.” Through his “Just Like You” film project, the series documents “people with incredible levels of passion, people we admire, and who share thoughtful ideas about life, the pursuit of their dreams and the challenges to become Citizens of Humanity.”  In exchange for participating in this series, artists from legendary ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov to model and global maternal health advocate Christy Turlington Burns to social activist Desmond Tutu create a limited edition T-shirt with Citizens of Humanity, and all proceeds are donated to the charity of their choice. Helping people is at the core of Citizens of Humanity’s mission. Next pair of jeans, consider buying from COH and support sustainable fashion and inspire the next generation of young artists.

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CASHMERE CREATIONS

As the holidays approach, wondering what to buy for your children, nieces, nephews, little brother or sister? We love Cashmere Creations’ unique brand of all natural sustainable 100% recycled cashmere products. Falling in love with the feel of cashmere fabric, designer and founder Lauren Farris began collecting old cashmere sweaters from thrift stores and in February 2007 established her own company as a way to reinvent old cashmere and recycle the material into a cute line of bears, bunnies, kittens, and any imaginable creature possible. Custom orders are also available through the company, as well as FREE shipping in the United States. Such a cute idea for Christmas to Valentine’s Day to birthdays to Easter for children- soft, cuddly, natural, and contributing to recycling the Earth’s materials.

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RMS BEAUTY

There are several organic and natural make-up products on the market today, but our top pick is RMS Beauty. Recently featured on model Giselle for an H & M campaign, and a favorite of celebrities such as Zoe Saldana, Miranda Kerr, and Olivia Munn, RMS founder Rose-Marie Swift, a renowned make-up artist, began developing illnesses due to the chemicals in her make-up and skin care products. This lead her to develop a completely organic line of make-up made from all raw products in their natural, untainted state. RMS goes beyond other organic lines in their production process of using limited heat which can alter raw minerals, releasing harmful chemicals that were once natural, therefore allowing RMS products to retain the living ingredients to nourish and heal. All RMS products are GMO free, Soy free, Gluten free, Nano free, and are not tested on animals. In addition, we love that all packaging is recyclable and completely biodegradable, contributing to sustainable fashion and design. We can’t wait to try RMS’s best seller and “celeb secret” Living Luminizer for healthy, luminous skin everyday.

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VIVA TERRA

About 100 years ago, all furniture was considered to be organic since craftsmen used natural wood and hardware locally crafted for home furnishings and decor. Now, however, most store bought sofas, tables, chairs, and beds contain plastics and artificially made materials. There are several great sustainable home fashion companies out there today from EKLA Home to Organic Modernism to Environment Furniture. We love Viva Terra’s mission statement “that you don’t have to compromise your sense of style to help preserve the earth’s precious resources.” While each sustainable furniture company is unique and profitable in its own way, we love the aesthetic and variety of natural products the company has to offer, from candles, to rugs, to sofas, to dining rooms, to beds, to holiday decor, Viva Terra really has everything you could want to design each room of your home. Each piece is completely handmade from artisans around the world, using all natural products or recycled materials. As you decorate for the holidays, consider buying locally and decorating naturally for a sustainable, eco-friendly holiday season.

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We hope you enjoyed our blog on “sustainable fashion.” Eco-friendly living is really quite simple; it’s just a matter of conscious decision making the next time you are at the market or shopping online. Why not stay chic and fashionable AND do your part to save and maintain the Earth’s natural resources. Mother Nature has given us all the resources we need, naturally, to live a clean, healthy, and balanced life; it’s up to each one of us to do so. Each small part adds up to bigger changes across the globe for a clean, green, healthier world for all of us and the generations to come. Give us your thoughts on how you “Live Green” and the natural products you like, and we may just feature YOU in our next Blog.