I approve: Earth Day

Hand tie-dyed shirts blew in the wind as sweaty hippies danced barefoot to no music in Peace Park.

The Columbia, Mo. 2008 Earth Day celebration occurred this Sunday, and thankfully she decided to cooperate by providing beautiful 76-degree weather for the occasion (thanks, earth!)

Here are just a few photos of the event, taken by my friend Erik Shookman. Downtown basically consisted of hundreds of booths either selling homemade "earthy" goods or promoting "earth-friendly" services and information. My favorite booths were the one that sold Kombucha, the one with hand-dyed dresses, and the Humane Society booth that had dogs you could play with. There was also an awesome owl some brave soul was holding.

Oh, and check it out, the paparazzi caught me signing a petition to allow sex education back in public schools! (fine, the paparazzi was just Danielle...) Anyways, Danielle has wonderfully documented the event in pics, check them out here.

I never knew Columbia and Mizzou celebrated Earth day in such a hardcore manner. Same time next year?


News on the street (e-street, that is) is that the Glow in the Dark tour is mind-blowingly phenomenal. It obviously takes A LOT for skeptical music reviewers aka HATERS to actually be stroking Mr. West's ego, so this show must actually rock. Apparently, Kanye takes creative stage design to new dimensions–literally. Props to Ambika for blogging about this before I got to it. I'm slipping, man.

Taken from RollingStone.com...

"Kanye West, Rihanna, N.E.R.D. and Lupe Fiasco all turned in stellar sets to begin the “Glow in the Dark” Tour, what will likely end up as one of 2008’s most talked-about bills. All of Kanye’s openers were given thirty minutes to do their thing at Seattle’s KeyArena last night, and Lupe Fiasco kicked off the night with a fast-paced half-hour into which he crammed parts of eleven songs, including the hits “Kick, Push” and “Superstar.” (Matthew Santos, who sings on the latter track, appeared for three songs at the end of Fiasco’s set.) The stage was bare for his performance, but Fiasco made up for it with vibrant physical energy and a very red dress scheme shared by his backing singers and DJ.

N.E.R.D. — Pharrell Williams‘ rock ensemble — played second. Fronting two drummers, a bassist/keyboardist, a synth player and guitarist (as well as a small handful of hangers-onstage who helped hype the crowd at climactic moments), Williams and co-vocalist Shay threw themselves into performances of “Lapdance,” “Brain,” “Rock Star” and “She Wants to Move” (the latter featuring a brief jam on Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”). After the set was finished, Pharrell returned to the stage to apologize for his use of profanity in front of a young child seated in the front row.

No apologies were necessary from Rihanna, whose stage set-up included light-up speaker stacks that glowed yellow, pink and aqua. The singer and her dancers’ clothes were basic black accented by pink and lime neon; the entire presentation was very new wave, down to Rihanna’s bright pink lipstick. The show was tightly choreographed but never felt laborious, and she got some traction doing “Hate That I Love You,” a duet with Ne-Yo on record, by herself. She also introduced “Umbrella” by saying, “I remember going up to Dream” (R&B phenom The-Dream, who helped produce and write the song) “and saying, ‘If you give this record away [to someone else] I’m going to kill you.’”

The headliner took his time, playing eighteen songs in an unbroken ninety-minute set. Half of the songs came from 2007’s Graduation, five from 2005’s Late Registration and the rest from 2004’s The College Dropout. Kanye stood alone on a stage that was made out to look like a spaceship, complete with a giant video backdrop that flashed psychedelic fractal patterns, bursting stars and moonscapes. Ostensibly, Kanye was trapped aboard a rogue ship piloted by a female version, dubbed Jane, of 2001’s HAL 9000. Kanye began with “Good Morning,” then touched on “Through the Wire,” the thematically inevitable trio of “Flashing Lights,” “Spaceship,” and “All Falls Down” and hit his climax for “Hey Mama,” during which he bowed forward on his knees and delivered an emotional monologue about following one’s dreams. The song that came immediately after Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” blasting over the PA before Kanye-in-space got his strength back to deliver “Stronger.”

In fact, Perez Hilton even gave his praise to Kanyeezy.

A talking spaceship named Jane? I wouldn't expect anything less of Mr. West.


I approve: Coconut Oil

I recently vacationed in Scottsdale, AZ at a spa called "the Sanctuary." And a sanctuary it was (I'm sure I'll feature it in a future post.)
One of the spa treatments I received was the "coconut lime scalp and body massage." Basically this consisted of a really nice lady getting me naked under a sheet and rubbing my head and body with coconut lime oil. Ahh delightful. I checked the spa gift shop to buy some of this oil and realized a small bottle was upwards of $50. Naturally, I decided I would rather invest in something from Urban rather than a small vial of scented oil, so I passed. I did, however, hit up the nearest grocery store and bought some organic (or as Ambika calls it "earthy") coconut oil in a plastic jar. I have heard about the numerous benefits of coconut oil, both for internal and external bodily health, but never actually tried it out before.
I brought the bottle back to CoMO with me, and decided to try it out tonight. I opened the jar and was surprised to see that the coconut "oil" looked kind of like Crisco - a strange semi-solid. After reading the directions, I filled my bathroom sink up with hot water and set the jar (with the lid on) into the water. Make sure you DO NOT microwave the coconut oil, microwave heat messes with its chemical makeup, instead set the entire jar or container in hot water... my bathroom sink worked nicely. Once the edges of the oil began to melt, I stood in my bathtub in some crappy clothes and poured the jar over my head. I tried really hard to re-enact the amazing head massage I received in Arizona, but somehow standing in my empty bathtub, rubbing my own head while my hair dripped oil all over my Mizzou t-shirt was far from what I had imagined. I rubbed my head for about 5 minutes, and then clipped my hair up to let the oil soak into my brain. I smelled EXACTLY like a Girl Scout Samoa Cookie for one hour. I rinsed it out with some tea tree shampoo, lathering and rinsing twice. Make sure you don't use a hydrating shampoo, use more of a clarifying one to get the oil out. The result?

my hair looks awesome.

I am a person who is constantly complaining about her hair and trying ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to change it. This coconut oil worked better than any Oscar Blandi, Frederic Fekkai, Redken, Ojon, Bumble and Bumble, Kiehl's, or Aveda product I have ever used. It made my hair shiny and bouncy and, most importantly, SMOOTH. Normally my hurrs are fro-tastic and out of control...some horrible combination of curly meets straight meets thick meets fine meets frizz. God plays some bad jokes sometimes. Anyways, after using the oil, it seems my hair has met its match.

One reason I was so excited to try coconut oil out was because the spa lady mentioned that doing regular head massages with any kind of skin-safe oil would help stimulate hair growth. I definitely saw results after her treatment, and will continue to do anything to get down-to-my-butt locks. Even if it means awkward personal coconut head rubs.

Also, coconut oil is apparently good for you to ingest as well. I haven't researched this a lot, but if you replace some of the oils you use for sauteeing, roasting, and frying meats and vegetables, it can be beneficial to your health by providing much needed omega fatty acids and also acting as a sort of weight loss tool. If this means all my food will taste like Samoa cookies from now on, sign me up.


I approve: Alaffia

Alaffia is this wonderful brand of fair-trade products available at local health food specialty shops (clover's, whole foods, etc.)

"We formulate our premium shea butter skin care products using our own handcrafted, shea butter and other indigenous ingredients. The goal of our simple, effective formulations is to preserve the integrity and effectiveness of the shea butter and indigenous ingredients in the final product. We do not use petroleum derived products or parabens, and we do not test on animals. We make all of our shea butter products ourselves in small batches at our facility in Olympia, WA."

Basically, all their stuff is all-natural and all-awesome. Unlike other natural brands (like Suki, etc.) Alaffia is decently priced...most of the products are between $10-$50.

My personal favorite product of theirs is their shea butter lip balm, for $3.50.
Shea & Cocoa Butter Lip Balmthese balms come in mocha flavoring (maybe this could help me cut down on nonfat mochas? nope) sweet orange mint, and tangerine clove (ahh bad memories of when I got my wisdom teeth removed...) I'm a little angry, however, because my FAVORITE flavor is no longer available at most locations. It is simply mint flavored in a black container. If anyone finds this one, LET ME KNOW WHERE AND BUY ME A CASE.

I hope it hasn't been discontinued. Everything I ever like is discontinued.

just a few examples....

1. Victoria's Secret #55 perfume
2. Milton brand whole wheat 7 grain bread (toasted, with some creamed honey and jasmine green tea...delicious)
3. Lancome's HUGE AMAZING bronzer disk compact with brush
4. Trader Joe's ReviveSPA shampoo and conditioner
5. Banana Boat self-tanning lotion (in a yellow bottle with a red lid)
6. Alaffia mint lip balm