Archive for March, 2011

Natural Beauty

Aubrey Organics Blue Green Algae Cleansing Lotion

We’ll be honest. We get sent a lot of products to try out so that we can bring the very finest to our readers. We don’t cover everything we receive and we’re selective about what we choose to highlight. We’ve also tried just about every natural or organic product out there so when we recently sampled Aubrey Organics Blue Green Algae Facial Cleansing Lotion (8 oz. – $15.98), we encountered a deliciously soothing product that really did balance our complexion and gently exfoliate.  We’re also a fan of a mild castile soap base.

The lotion features organic blue green algae & grape seed extract – both powerful antioxidants said to protect – along with Canadian Willowherb & Organic Lavender to calm our stressed out travel-beat skin.

As you may know, Aubrey Organics  makes a variety of different hair and skincare products (according to skin type), along with Blue Green Algae Facial Toner (8 oz. – $9.92) to clear away excess oil and normalize the complexion, as well as Aubrey Organics Blue Green Algae Moisturizer (4 oz. – $16.92), a  light antioxidant formula to protect skin from sun exposure and pollution and restore moisture and elasticity without clogging pores. All in all, these are some of our favorite Aubrey Organic products so, squeeze them into some travel-ready 3 oz. or less containers, strap on a backpack, and climb those mountains… with a natural glow.

Offered at health food stores nationwide or visit

Finding Honest Ecotourism: Challenges and Benefits

This week, we’re getting the skinny on the issues and debates around Eco-Tourism from Krista Peterson, a Health and Safety advocate working with In addition to her passion for environmental issues and green living, she loves to write and do yoga in her free time.

While ecotourism offers individuals an unparalleled opportunity to experience unspoiled natural locations through travel to pristine areas untouched by the industrial world, other benefits include the education that can accompany these trips, for both travelers and native cultures. Offering insight to local communities in these remote areas through the promotion of energy efficiency, conservation of resources and recycling, ecotourism also implies a responsibility to give back to places visited. Whether that exchange is in the form of volunteering, supporting democratic movements or contributing to responsible economic development and preservation of an area, ecotourism requires a different mindset in which the importance of giving back to an area equals the experiences one takes home.

However, with so many goals associated with ecotourism, devising a generally-accepted definition becomes difficult, especially as the long-term impact of ecotourism is examined. Some of the problems with defining ecotourism lie in determining when a particular eco-hotel crosses the line between beneficial to harmful. Besides the relatively straightforward environmental issues of ecotourism, including, conservationist practices and resource management, complex issues regarding the local culture also quickly arise as ecotourism grows in popularity.

Costa Rica Eco-Tourism (c) ICT

Furthermore, under-regulated ecotourism destinations can also put the travelers themselves at risk. In these ineffectually-governed nations, ostensibly eco-friendly companies have no responsibility to ensure the true safety of their facilities and activities. Furthermore, these irresponsible destinations also drive out truly eco-friendly resorts that cannot compete with the types of activities offered. With the scope of activities this freedom from regulation allows profit-motivated companies, they can largely determine their own standards for what constitutes an eco-hotel.

Besides lacking basic eco-friendly characteristics, including renewable energy sources and locally-grown food, these hotels might fail to adhere to general safety guidelines. Especially in nations without strict material regulation, certain products can pose a significant threat. Among them is asbestos, which is still shipped to many of the developing nations these eco-hotels are seen in. Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma, the indications of the cancer this material causes, can appear years after exposure, leading to the delayed recognition and treatment of this disease that makes it so devastating. Other undesirable results of a poorly-regulated hotel can include food or waterborne illness and injury from insufficient accommodations.

Beware of Asbestos

As travelers become willing to pay more for trips to these unspoiled locations, the original intentions of ecotourism are at risk for becoming increasingly obscured and abandoned in exchange for the profitable exploitation of these locations and people. In addition, mesothelioma symptoms and the funding of unethical companies are two potential consequences tourists must often confront after failing to properly choosing a legitimate ecotourism company. However, for all the dangers of choosing the wrong ecotourism company, the benefits of choosing a responsible one dedicated to bringing the true intentions of conservation, education and support to these areas, can be immense. Besides replacing irresponsible travel, ecotourism also spurs on the global initiative to recognize our impact on the planet while also finding solutions to current environmental problems. By devising facilities and activities that both respect and support the environment, instead of attempting to manipulate it, we can make ecotourism not simply a diversion, but a purposeful global pledge.

Vietnam: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

Vietnam: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

At a small resort in southern Vietnam eco-fashionistas and eco-travel addicts can stimulate their senses the sustainable way. The Six Senses Ninh Van Bay named for the little bay it sits on, is likely one of the most stunning eco-friendly Vietnamese properties around.

We happen to think almost every Six Senses property is top notch and noteworthy for their expansive views, natural decor, and fine attention to luxe detail. Traditional Vietnamese architecture of stone and natural wood with gauzy white fabric flowing throughout blend seamlessly into the rugged rocky landscape with 58 villas of varying sizes, from the Hill Top Villas high on the hill to the sprawling Presidential Villa.

Vietnam's Six Senses Eco-Resort

However, their attention to sustainability doesn’t stop with locally sourced materials. All aspects of energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction, fair-trade and local community building are part of the agenda and you can feel it in the staff who all feel personally tied to the success of each locale.

For this, we give it a 10 out of 10.

Now we’re just trying to decide when to find the time off. Snow in NYC is fading into rain and Vietnam is sounding better and better every day!

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