green crush: meet yenny of eco chic beauty

yenny dang is known as an upbeat, approachable + authentic critic of organic skincare + beauty products. she is to the world of natural + nontoxic beauty what roger ebert + gene siskel were to the world of film critique. 

over 4 years ago i decided to make the switch to clean beauty products. i walked confidently into a corner pharmacy in america, determined to pluck a healthy alternative off the shelves. no petrochemicals or phthalates for me, thank you. these ingredients may be good enough for vinyl flooring + building materials, but they are not good enough for our faces + bodies. i found a lotion with the letters "organic" scrawled across the top of the bottle in bold letters. i paid + went home with product in hand only to find out that there wasn't a single organic or natural ingredient inside. 

this life lesson is called reading the labels.

i scratched my head. this wasn't as easy as i thought it was going to be. fast forward to 2015; i have finally amassed an array of truly organic + cruelty-free products. but there are experts that exist in our universe: people with knowledge. people with moisturizing lip glosses in their purses that taste like fresh fruit salads + remarkably effective lotions lying resplendent across their nightstands. 

these experts devote their time + energy to spraying, slathering + soaking in myriad green products, then they reveal the results. do you know who benefits? you + i do, my friends.

where are all these experts you may ask? well, right this way. 

yenny caught the attention of the ig community with her pithy posts delivering the things skincare, hair care + beauty. she gives her honest opinion about everything from label design to the efficacy of each product she reviews. she is warm, genuine + so easy to talk to. 

i had the opportunity to ask yenny a few questions about what exactly drives her passion for the perfect green product + what makes this beauty happy. dive in to learn about the one product she thinks every eco girl should own, who she admires most + what book she believe is the "green beauty bible". this is yenny:

f+d: what is one small action you might encourage others to take to live a more sustainable lifestyle {beyond recycling}?

yd: i would encourage people to think for a minute about how every purchase, decision or action they make affects the environment, animals or people.

f+d: what is your favorite eco online retailer or brick + mortar shop? 

yd: ahh, i can only choose one? ;) i love and the detox market for both their online retail stores and their brick and mortar shops. i also love follain and cap beauty for their brick and mortar stores. as for the online retailers, integrity botanicalseco diva beauty and safe + chic are great! 

f+d: was there a book/movie/aha! moment which put you on the path to clean beauty/green living? 

yd: yes! no more dirty looks! it's like the green beauty bible!

f+d: what is one personal quality about yourself that you would never change? 

yd: i would have to say my loyalty and my big-heart. i am fiercely loyal, and i genuinely care about people, animals, and the environment. i try to help out wherever, whenever, as much as i can. i'd very much rather give than receive - i'm a huge giver! seeing a smile on someone's face, making someone's day, or doing something impactful in a positive way, means the world to me.

f+d: share four things that make you really happy. 

yd: only 4? lol. i would have to say: my furbabies {i have 2 little chihuahuas}, sunny/beachy weather {that vitamin d though!}, travelling, green beauty, good food, good music, my family and friends... i could go on and on. :)

f+d: it takes a lot of time + dedication to post regularly + create a community around that which inspires you. what motivates you to do so? 

yd: the sense of community and being able to share my passion with like-minded individuals. the admiration, inspiration and respect we have for one another is unreal. i've made so many great friendships through the green beauty + clean living community, some of whom are very close friends of mine now!

f+d: which person do you most admire and why?

yd: wow, this is a hard one, because i truly admire a lot of people, especially in green beauty. since i can't choose just one person, i'll tell you who i admire in the realm of sustainability. i would have to say elon musk and stella mccartney. elon is an innovative + creative genius; and stella makes these gorgeous pret-a-porter / runway-ready clothes. they are proof that you can make ethical, conscious, sustainable products that are both luxurious and good for the environment. conscious, eco-friendly, sustainable products don't always have to be boring or too "granola."

f+d: i'm so curious as to your fave beauty brands. what is one beauty product you would recommend that every woman should have in her purse or medicine cabinet?

yd: oh, this is too hard! there are SO many green beauty products that i absolutely love! but if i were to recommend one product, it would have to be may lindstrom's the problem solver. it was one of the first green beauty products i ever tried and it hasn't let me down since. if you've had a stressful day or have an important day coming up, this mask does wonders for your face and for your psyche! it really is like magic, it makes all of your problems go away! ;)

f+d: one last question, do you have a favorite quote or motto?

yd: do all things with love. :)

follow yenny's eco beauty adventures on instagram!

{header image + center image c/o jen jar photography// skincare imges c/o eco chic beauty // elon musk c/o nbc // artwork by ev}

{green heart series} meet thara of moss + stone

hurraw! today i'm excited to introduce a new series i’m calling the green heart series, in which an extraordinary sustainable living enthusiast is showcased each week. you'll meet passionate thought leaders, young activists and seasoned environmentalists, all working to disseminate information + create positive change. each is devoted to promoting social justice + human rights, protecting the environment and advocating on behalf of animals.

the people you will meet are compassionate, intelligent, driven, fierce + funny. they come from all walks of life and from all across the globe; they are a world of creators: writers, artists, photographers, singers, sewers, entrepreneurs, makers, dreamers and doers. they have also had a great impact on my life in numerous ways. they make me laugh, they make me think, they stretch my mind to new limits, and certainly, they galvanize me to live a more thoughtful life.

meet our first young eco hero, thara, healthy living aficionado + ardent animal rights advocate. find out which personal quality she would never change about herself, the private part of her life she chose to disclose in her quest to help others and what her parents had to say when she encouraged them to explore a plant-based diet.

i'd just returned home from a long day at work, when i tumbled across thara's food-centric instagram account; those that know me know that cooking is not my forte, so her

simple recipes were exactly what i needed. i follow lots of foodie ig accounts, but my surrealist rendering of their elegant meals, an unintentional dalí painting across my dinner plate, left me craving easy, no-fuss recipes. that night, i decided to peruse thara's youtube channel. i was exhausted, and i was hoping to find uncomplicated recipes + tips for healthy living, as promised by the raven-haired, melbourne-based vlogger and blogger at moss + stone. what i discovered so much more than this.

in one of thara's first videos, "five ways i'm treating anxiety + depression naturally," she shares, with unpretentious poise, honesty + maturity, her personal journey of being bullied, battling depression and how she now manages her anxiety naturally, holistically. 

in a world where speaking of mental health is taboo, i'm always struck by the valor + strength of those that choose to peel back the top lacquered layers of their lives in an earnest effort to aid + comfort others affected by the same conditions. i admire the courage with which thara unveils her symptoms + how she copes using a healthy diet, mindful meditation, mineral supplements, chinese medicine and earthing*. 

thara has been vlogging for over a year now, and whether she's unveiling a new nutrient-dense recipe for a berry smoothie or a plant-based chocolatey dessert, thara offers up healthy living tips that make eating right a snap + getting fit achievable. here, thara, shares a bit about her inspirations + motivations:

live / vivre

1/ what is one action you might encourage others to take to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

the biggest difference someone can make to the environment by way of cutting back greenhouse emissions, saving water, and stopping rain forest destruction is by going vegan. animal agriculture is the number one cause for the destruction of our planet - you can watch a documentary called cowspiracy to understand just how this is so, or check out their fact page here for information and sources. in a nutshell, livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions; it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef  and 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk; and animal agriculture has been found to be the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

2/ what is your favorite eco online retailer or brick + mortar shop? my favorite online retailer is love child - it is a store run by two awesome aussie girls who sell some great ethical brands like her pony and kerol k, while emphasizing the necessity of living compassionate lifestyles in order to sustain our planet's resources and save innocent lives. 

flourish | fleurir

3/ what is one personal quality about yourself that you would never change?

i would have to say my empathy. it is what caused me to turn vegetarian at age 8 after seeing a documentary about meat production and the way animals were treated as commodities. it is what has made me become an animal rights supporter and environmentalist, as i care very deeply about other living beings and for the future of our planet. 

4/ share four things that make you really happy.

my cats (misty and casper); salted caramel coconut ice-cream; making my own herbal tea from the herbs in my garden; and farm animal sanctuaries (the work they do to help animals have a second chance at life is inspirational).

inspired | inspiré

5/ it takes a lot of time + dedication to create engaging videos or content. what motivates you to do so?

what motivates me to work on and plan this content is the fact that my small and humble amount of followers are so beautiful and supportive and really care about what i post. i value their opinions and love working with their suggestions to come up with posts/videos that i know they really want to see.

6/ which person do you most admire and why?

celebrity wise, i would have to say emily deschanel. i've loved her ever since my teen days when i first saw her on bones. In real life she has been a vegan for almost 20 years, and has spoken out about animal rights and environmentalism. she's a beautiful person inside and out, and is a talented actress too. hitting closer to home, i admire my parents a great deal. they worked hard to raise my sister and i in a foreign country, and sacrificed a lot so that we could receive a good education and made sure we were healthy with a roof over our heads. after watching documentaries like earthlings and cowspiracy, they too have become vegan and the amount of delicious food they make ahhhhh - i never want to leave home! 

wear | porter

7/ describe your favorite go-to ensemble from head to toe. do you have any favorite slow or indie fashion brands? 

my favorite go-to ensemble is always a vintage mini-dress (i have a huge collection in my wardrobe, all of them are op-shop finds) with a pair of sandals. if it's slightly chillier, than i opt for my high-waist jeans, op-shop sweater and a pair of comfy sneakers. my favorite brand would have to be her pony - they are melbourne-based and make some beautiful festival-style clothing. they are also vegan and cruelty-free, so i love the fact that they are showing people that you can be stylish and compassionate at the same time. for natural + cruelty-free beauty products in australia, change box is a subscription box that curates amazing products by companies that make a difference in the world for people, animals and the environment. 

interested in learning more about thara? click on over to follow her on twitter, ig, on youtube or at moss + stone.

{don't forget the tip} *every boy + girl should learn how negative ions ward off lethargy + headaches and promote focus while having a pronounced anti-depressant affect. negative ions are your friends: find out where you can stock up on these: watch thara's videos to learn more. 

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{images of thara by michael blamey / emily deschanel via laika magazine / pig via mercy for animals / all other images via moss + stone}

{simple pleasures} rebondir dans graceland: bouncing into graceland

20161011_0433 I sq.jpg
Maybe I’ve reason to believe

we all will be received

in Graceland.
— Paul Simon

years ago i was lying across the cold vinyl of the physician's exam table, the crisp crepe paper roll beneath me sticking to my nervous palms. the doctor came in, he took my blood pressure first, then he took my wrist in his hand, placing his fingers over my radial artery to take my pulse. he looked perplexed, he took it again. then again. in all, he took it five times, finally stepping back, he said with incredulity, "these numbers indicate that you shouldn't be alive." 

but i was, and i am. and i'm so very glad to be here. 

over the years, before my diagnosis, i grew accustomed to the bewildered looks of nurses and physicians who couldn't seem to register that a girl as sick as me was still functioning in society. so during one of my umpteenth doctor's visits, when a p.a. took my stats, scratched her head, then got down on her knees mumbling, "hmph, the machine must be broken. these numbers aren’t right. let me check the chords," i knew i was going to have to explain that i was a very sick girl, and that my numbers weren't healthy numbers, and the doctors had yet to discover the source of my illness. the machine wasn’t broken, but i certainly felt broken. this was before my two operations. this was before my plant-based journey began. this was before i learned of the power of plants to heal + nourish our bodies, minds + souls. 

i believe life will always present challenges, and it's up to us to rise up to meet them. during these times, strength, wisdom + courage bubble to the surface. for me, my faith was an integral part of my healing. eventually i lost the ability to walk sans pain, and i didn't have the stamina to continue as a full time educator, so i turned to freelance writing + editing. and my writing took me down the path of sustainability.

on this path i've met so many sustainability superstars + cruelty-free crusaders: tenacious, talented women + men working to change the world one day at a time. because small steps lead to big change.

so if you ask me if i had to do it all over again, would i live this same life twice? the answer would be unequivocally YES. 

as i stood on this majestic mountain, not just walking again, but hiking again with my best friend by my side, i was reminded that i met her because life bent me in a different direction. and i can't imagine my life without her + so many others i've met on this adventure. it turns out i was heading exactly where i needed to be. and often i feel i've arrived bouncing into my own personal graceland

this week, i'll unfurl the green heart series in which i showcase a blogger + eco hero that is passionate about sustainable living + healthy eating, all of whom i was lucky enough to meet along this journey to health + wellness. 

i'm eternally grateful for life's trials + triumphs. today, fourteen simple pleasures that fill me with joy + gratitude: 

1/ health: the power of plants to nurture + heal never ceases to amaze me

2/ movies: watching movies on a plane is my fave; it's always better on a plane

3/ water: clean air in my lungs + running water  

4/ sky: a clear, saturated + spotless sky above

5/ baths: a long, warm soak with natural salts + oils

6/ nature: a single bloom pushing its way through concrete always moves me

7/ whistling: one of my favorite sounds, besides laughter, from family, friends or strangers

8/ life: the feel + smell of my pup when he sleeps next to me at night, even though he's a bed bully

9/ energy: the tremble of the ground beneath my feet as i wait for trains on platforms. i was at a train depot when i broke my foot this summer. there was no one around me, just a woman in the distance. i was thinking about how to get up two flights of stairs when she turned, walked the entire length of the platform + asked if she could help me. i wasn't sure how she knew i needed help. she didn't see me fall. i wasn't limping. i love when people are attentive, perceptive + sensitive to others' energy. 

10/ travel: meeting new people + learning their stories + soaking up their wisdom

11/ communication: when my mom uses emojis in her texts

12/ satchels: i absolutely love to find out what people carry in their bags

13/ botanicals: as an anti-materialist, i don't buy often, but boy do i love handmade soaps + oils 

14/ green hearts: all the lovelies i've met whom i'll be presenting here on this blog. so many fierce + kind hearts will be bouncing into your lives soon via eco voyage

"health is the greatest of human blessings." hippocrates

interested in learning more? read not just a pretty face + watch farm to fridge.