Archive for April, 2012

Earth Day Everyday

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

On April 22nd, Earth Day was celebrated.

The global movement is all about performing “acts of green” in order to protect and sustain our lovely planet.

If you’re a student, there are many ways to go-green that make a difference. For instance, using reusable bottles for water and coffee, or recycling dorm furniture by hosting a swap at the beginning or end of the year. I try to be as green as can be, and one of the ways I do that is by switching some of the products I use everyday over to their eco-friendly counterparts.

In the spirit of Earth Day, here are five switches you can make the next time you need to refresh your shower kit.

All products are available in Sydney and will not break the bank. Also – I’ve tried and loved them all. As a bonus, most of the companies only use natural ingredients… making them good for you and the world.

1. Kiss My Face Deodorant

Kiss My Face has been doing the green thing for over 30 years, giving them creditability as a legitimate, sustainable company. Kiss My Face uses sustainable plant based ingredients in their natural product line, and as a bonus, the company only uses recycled materials for their packaging.

Aside from all of that, Kiss My Face deodorant is good for you too. Regular deodorants have been linked to cancer as they contain cancer-causing ingredients (like metal) that get straight into your blood stream via your beautiful underarm lymph glands. Kiss My Face deodorant skips all of that crazy stuff and leaves you protected and smelling great.

Bonus:

-No animal testing or cruelty

2. Say Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes

If you have a busy lifestyle (duh), these convenient face towelettes are for you! The delicious cucumber scent mixed with natural ingredients like aloe vera and green tea are super-refreshing after a long day or as a pick-me-up.

Yes To, the company behind the magic, is committed to delivering ecofriendly products with minimal packaging. These wipes are biodegradable as well, so toss them in your compost once you’re done.

Bonus:

-No animal testing or cruelty

-Yes To Seed Fund – a percentage of profits goes to garden grants for children, teaching them the value of nature and the importance of leading healthy lifestyles

3. Aveda Shampure

I’ve been in love with Aveda product since working at an Aveda salon and spa. My personal favorite shampoo and conditioner is from the Shampure line, for all hair types. It is also the most inexpensive of Aveda hair care.

Aveda uses plant based ingredients and has a larger than life reputation for being very sustainable worldwide. The companies mission is “to care for the world we live in, from the products we make to the ways in which we give back to society. At Aveda, we strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility – not just in the world of beauty, but around the world.”

Bonus:

- No animal testing or cruelty

- Environmental Sustainability Policy that governs the company

- Gives back through many campaigns worldwide

- Earth and Community Care yearly report (available online)

4. Burts Bees Body Wash

Burts Bees is most well known for their lip chap, but their body wash line is just as great.

The company maintains that it is committed to the customer and only offers 99% natural products are more (half of their products are 100% natural). All ingredients are transparent to customers too, so that costumers can remain educated and in control of what they put on their bodies.

Burts Bees uses recycled material for packaging that has the lowest impact on the environment.

Bonus:

-No animal testing or cruelty

- Greater Good Foundation – 10% profits go to “well being” partners

- Social and Environmental Reports (available online)

5. Toms of Maine Toothpaste

Brushing your teeth is something you have to do a few times a day, so why not help the environment and yourself by using Tom’s toothpaste?

The toothpaste is minty fresh and delicious, leaving your teeth feeling just-left-the-dentist clean. Plus, the ingredients are all natural (they even offer a link to the American Botanical Council so you can find up to date information on the ingredients they use).

Tom’s also uses minimal processing and packaging, while also setting new standards in sustainability. If you visit their website, you can find extensive information on what they do to remain ecofriendly worldwide. They are the real deal.

Bonus:

- No animal testing or cruelty

- 10% of profits go to nonprofit organizations that support the environment and education

- 5% paid volunteer hours for employees at the nonprofit organization of their choice

- “Making Waves” – protecting water worldwide

What are your favourite eco-friendly products?

Cape Breton Summer

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Usually around this time of the year I pack my bags and head overseas for a few months of adventure. This year, I’m staying put and will have a Cape Breton summer!

The spring in Sydney has so far been beautiful. There have been countless days of “t-shirt” weather. I have loved waking up to the sunshine and planning my days to be spent outdoors strolling Wentworth Park, or walking my family’s puppy around Peterfield’s Park.

Clara-Belle, my family's adorable puppy!

Summer feels like it’s just around the corner. My exams are done, I have two spring distance courses to take to finish my degree, and I’ll be doing research for my professor again. This mix creates the perfect work-life balance. Relaxing summer: here I come!

The only things on my mind now are finding good books to read and buying a new bicycle.

What are your summer plans?

In the meantime, expect updates on my summer of fun here!

Master Procrastinator

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I am 3/4. That is, I have already written 3 of my exams.

My next and last exam isn’t until Saturday. So, what’s a girl to do until then?

a.) Study – Reasonable and very useful.

b.) Complete To-Do List – Practical and productive.

c.) Procrastinate – Blissfully irresponsible yet fun.

I’m guessing you already know the answer to that question… and I’m assuming I’m not the only Master Procrastinator around these parts!

Nevertheless, if you’re new to the whole “Oh my goodness, completing this task totally unrelated to schoolwork is so important right now” – then I have a list of some of my favourite ways to procrastinate!

Paint your nails

It would be an absolute travesty to write your exam with nails that are plain and uninspiring. Instead, head to your local Shoppers and buy a new Essie polish. Time: 1-2 hours.

Clean your closet

While cleaning your closet may seem urgent and bordering on being productive, let’s be honest, it remains a bigger mess after the fact. Don’t start. Time: 5 min – all day.

Plan an escape

You’ve been working really hard. You deserve a break as soon as exams are over. In fact, you should plan for it this instant. Go on Expedia and decide between Cuba, Mexico or Dominican Republic. Call some friends to see who can go with you. Browse beachwear online… etc. Time: 30 min – 2 hours.

Bake

Studying for exams would be way easier if you could only satisfy your lingering sweet tooth. Plus, making the Chocolate Lover’s Cupcakes recipe makes 12 cupcakes – you’re practically saving time! Dessert for days. (Or a day or two…) Time: 1 hour.

DIY

You’ve always wanted to be the crafty type, and this DIY jewellery organizer is screaming your name. Perhaps if you briefly take your mind off of school, you won’t fall asleep again reading over your notes, especially with an accomplished jewellery organizer staring back at you. Right? Time: 2-4 hours.

How do you procrastinate?

Long Weekend Fun

Friday, April 6th, 2012

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Finally, the weekend is here! And it’s not just any weekend… it’s a long weekend. And it’s not just a long weekend… it’s Easter!

I’m not sure how many festive activities you’ll be partaking in over the next few days. As for me, I’ll be studying for my upcoming exams.

(source)

But, here’s a plus: when we start exams on Tuesday, Easter chocolate and candy will be 50% off! That means buying bags of Mini Eggs, boxes of Hello Kitty themed chocolate bunnies, and a few sad little leftover Peeps.

(source)

Writing an exam with Mini Eggs sprawled across your desk has many unknown benefits, like:

  • Using your Mini Eggs to help with Math problems.
  • Rewarding yourself with a Mini Egg for every multiple choice question completed.
  • Giving yourself a sugar high to power through a long essay question.

Easter treats are yummy and helpful.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Go-Go-Gadget

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

We’ve come a long way from chalkboards, pens and pencils. Walking around CBU, it’s not uncommon to see faces buried in laptops, cellphones, and tablets. This technology makes it increasingly easy to be a student: ask a question on Google, type your notes quickly in Word, and email outstanding assignments to your professor.

What are the next tech trends that greet students? Here’s a list of some of my favourite go-go-gadgets.

1. Pocket Projector

For under $300, you can use your iPhone as a projector, and a good one at that. The Brookstone Pocket Projector attaches to your iPhone and can project up to 50’’ images. It also includes a heavy-duty speaker, perfect for watching movies. This is a great tool for students who have to do presentations on a regular basis (or who want to host movie nights)!

2. Jot Pro

If you’re a tech junkie, no doubt you’d love the digital pen: the Jot Pro. This stylus can be used on most touch screen surfaces and delivers all the precision of a pen – without one. It also has a magnetic body to stay put on the device you’re using. Get a few in different colours to ensure super-organized notes.

3. Solar Backpack

Going green is easy with the Solar Backpack. The backpack has a solar grid that can charge all of your handheld electronics. For 4 Watts of solar power (approximately 1 hour of sun) you get 3 hours of talk time. On top of that, the bag has a laptop sleeve, lots of storage and you can even remove the solar panel whenever you want to attach on other bags. It’s really the ideal backpack for university students on the go.

4. Mobile Document Scanner

Need the notes from last class? Now you can quickly scan them with the Doxie Go mobile scanner. The tiny gadget is cordless with a rechargeable battery. Scan anything (notes, business cards, photos) and either sync it over Wi-Fi to your mobile phone or laptop, or save it on the built in memory, with an SD card, or with a USB flash drive. Scanning one page takes about 8 seconds – easy peasey.

These gadgets definitely make being a student easier. My personal favourite is the solar backpack, although, I’m not sure how much good it would do during a Cape Breton winter.

Would you use any of these gadgets? And, how much is too-much technology?