Monday, February 28, 2011

My Favorite Photos of February

(as always click to enlarge)

I love reflecting on the month through photos. Like the bottom left corner photo, it's an ice covered window. We had an extremely cold snap in February that felt never ending and our single pane windows iced over horribly. February was also a great month for the house, I got paintings and pictures hung on the walls and the chalk board circle painted on the wall (2nd in from left and 2nd from bottom). I enjoyed a few meals out, always feeling so lucky to have wonderful food so close by. Boulder is a mecca for fabulous local restaurants. Girl Scout Cookies, hikes, and taking advantage of warmer days. A few glimpses into Valentine's Day, painting circle bookmarks and ribbon barrettes. 

February, always unpredictable! 


Thursday, February 24, 2011

When A Classroom Feels Like Home

Tonight was parent visiting night at Sj's school. We accompanied her to the classroom and she walked us through a checklist of work in progress she wanted us to see. She attends a school where her education is self-driven, meaning she works on what she wants to and pursues studying and researching topics that interest her. The former conventional fifth grade teacher in me always wonders how that really works, but when you see it in progress, all those traditional notions I held onto easily fade away. Self driven education is a wonderful thing. You won't find 25 Abe Lincoln reports donning the bulletin board in her classroom. To me, I wouldn't have it any other way.

What stood out to me most tonight, beyond all the amazing work Sj is doing, was the classroom environment. Wooden boxes full of materials, art supplies neatly placed on readily accessible trays, glass and metal bead chains for math, plants, rugs, pillows, coral, ceramic pottery, wicker baskets. All items you could easily find in my own home, with the exception of the school materials. I think it's a special thing to walk into a classroom that feels like a home, I certainly know that feeling is not easy to capture in a concrete cinder block rectangle. 

Her classroom is so calm and inviting. There aren't projects hanging off the ceiling and piles of papers and books stacked all over the place (that would be my former classroom). You won't find desks in perfect rows or even in groups, but rather soft work spaces and an occasional small table to work on. It's truly a place full of delight and wonder. Curiosity is blooming and you could feel it radiating like sunshine through the room. 

I left tonight smiling, knowing she's been given an amazing gift through her education. A day I always dreamed of. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Lunch Packing Help! Sandwich Alternatives

It's that time of year when our favorite lunch go-to's may be too played out, I'm talking to you peanut butter and jelly sandwich. While we all know are children are fortunate to be having a homemade lunch, it's also hard to find lunch inspiration. Packing lunch does not have to be a time consuming process. I take about 5 minutes to put lunch together in the morning (I'm not a night before packer). While I would love to make creative lunches everyday for my girls, the reality is time and what's on hand. I am a huge fan of using leftovers for lunch, which also means thinking ahead like making some extra pasta or buying an extra package of dumplings. I only pack a sandwich a couple times a week, otherwise I repurpose leftovers in a fun way! 

Sandwich alternatives:
  • Dumplings from a Japanese fast food restaurant (Whole Foods also makes them). Purchased an extra order when getting our take out for dinner. Perfect for lunch.
  • Cheese quesadilla, I place in toaster oven and remove just as cheese starts to melt, if you wait too long, the tortilla turns into a hard cracker by lunch. My girls prefer softer.
  • Tri-colored pasta (leftover of course) with some balsamic vinaigrette, vintage cheddar, and pepperoni. 
  • Leftover pearled couscous. 
  • Macaroni and cheese (pictured with broccoli).
  • Turkey meatballs on a little skewer with ketchup.
  • Soup or chili. 

** Items like the macaroni and cheese, dumplings, soup are all heated here in the morning. I do have a thermos style bento I pack Sj for soup, but I like to take the edge off of really cold food from the refrigerator being sent for lunch. By heating it up, it's softer and more edible. 

Vegetable & Fruit, Go-To's:

Edamame is one of my favorite vegetables to pack for lunch because I always have a bag in the freezer. Always buy Organic edamame, as 95% of soy grown in the United States is genetically modified to resist Round-Up pesticides. 

Other fruits and vegetables:

  • My girls love melon, either cantaloupe or watermelon
  • Applesauce
  • Carrot sticks and organic ranch (I typically cut up my own carrots, more favorful)
  • Cucumber and organic ranch
  • Red pepper cut into strips and organic ranch
  • Berries! Always a hit with my girls.
  • Edamame
  • Snap peas
  • Canned packed in 100% juice pineapple, pears, peaches. 
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Jicama sticks! My 7yo loves jicama. 
  • Apples and peanut butter (if you cut them in 1/2 carve out center and fill with PB or almond butter)
  • Broccoli 
  • Grape tomatoes (super fun on a pick stacked)
  • kiwi
Have an favorite alternatives to sandwiches? Please share!

My favorite waste free way to pack lunch, hands down Laptop Lunches. We own a few and I love them, especially for my oldest daughter because they hold plenty of food. 10% off if you enter "eatplaylove" at checkout, I'm an affiliate! 

For more inspiration, visit my other blog, Colorado Bento (all about lunch packing). 

Think About Lunch When Having Dinner

Last night we had take away for dinner from a local fast food Japanese restaurant. I asked my husband to pick up dumplings for the girls so I could pack them for lunch today. They love having a variety of foods for lunch, so the dumplings are perfect.

Also included, cantaloupe, snap peas, teriyaki rice crackers, and cheddar cheese.

Laptop Lunch packed and ready to go in less than 5 minutes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Preschool Bentos, No Sandwich Needed...

Quite often, I fall into the "lunch must have a sandwich" mentality. Honestly, that's what I always had growing up, a sandwich with a few ziploc baggies on the side. Luckily with bentos we can literally let go of what a lunch must be and open our possibilities.

Both lunches I packed for my 4yo this week didn't even have bread! Bentos are the perfect way to switch up leftovers and make lunch more interesting (even if it is leftovers).

Top bento:
Mac n cheese with broccoli, strawberries, vege booty, and raisins.

Bottom bento:
Tri colored pasta, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, grapes, and a pickle. (She LOVED this one)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

200 Hikes: Day 8, The Hike That Was a True Pain In The Ass...

On Tuesday the weather was beautiful, after a tour of Third Street Chai (more to come on that) I decided to hit the trail for the last 1.5 hours before school pickup. Even though the sun was shining bright and the temperature was nice and warm, the hard ice and snow pack on the trail had yet to melt off. The photo on the top left was from the trail on the initial climb. It's hard to navigate the trail when it's like that, it becomes very slippery and often I do a bad thing and move off trail just a bit to help gain my footing. 

Once I was to the top and hit the main trail, it wasn't as bad. I glanced off to my left at one point and saw a beautiful spot with some rocks and trees to take a photo. In my usual fashion when taking photos, I typically sit on the ground or rocks to get a varied perspective when framing the shot.

At some point while taking the photo on the top right, I sat in a plant that had prickers. Now the ground was mainly covered in snow, so the only place I do recall full on sitting was on a rock. It was covered in moss, but does moss ever have prickers? I don't know. The interesting part is, I was pretty early in on my hike. I didn't notice I sat in prickers until I was a few minutes back on the trail. I thought I could just pull away a few that were stuck in my pants, but I was quick to learn that the had actually entered my skin in my right butt cheek. I spent the rest of my hike with my hand down my pants trying to buffer more prickers from my pants and now underwear from getting further into my skin. Holy, ouch.

Turns out they are some nasty prickers, the kind when you pull out of one place they stick into another. They were also very fine. I had some after school assistance from my girls helping me get as many of the prickers out as they could, considering the difficult location to see them to remove them myself. Although their assistance was short lived when pinching my skin with the tweezers became more fun than pulling out the prickers. I now have a series of bumps on my bottom where the big prickers were. Finally after about 36 hours the throbbing stopped. Ooh, mother nature.

I am planning on returning to the spot as soon as I can and taking a photo of the plant that was the pricker culprit. I will identify it and warn everyone. Photos to follow!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Showing Your Love

I'm not really much of an overpriced dozen of red roses kind of woman. I much prefer a mixed bouquet of wild flowers for a 1/4 of the price any other day of the week. While I do cherish the diamonds I have, I'm a sterling silver handmade by a local artist, kind of woman. I'm not much for paying double for a meal at a favorite restaurant because it's Feb 14th, cook for me.

While I do sometimes fantasize about grandiose gestures, it's love letters I quite often miss. Little things like a heart shaped rock, maybe a mixed tape.

Having one day to show your love is a beautiful thing, if ....


Sunday, February 13, 2011

200 Hikes: Day 7, Flagstaff With a View

Saturday morning hike, snow packed trail, occasional bursts of sunshine, wonderful conversation with a friend. I have to admit, friends that want to join me on the hike, always make the experience that much better. For that I am grateful.

We hiked up Flagstaff Mountain and the top photo is a view across the valley on our trail. Funny enough I hiked that on Day 4 (Settler's Park). I thought it would be fun to put both photos together, dramatically different weather days just a couple of weeks apart.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Inspired by Valentine's Day...

It's all about the inspiration. 
Are you feeling it?

Even though there wasn't a class party, the spirit of Valentine's Day was captured in her fanciness.
I want to be that cute. 

We typically buy Valentine's, but this year we made them.
Painting circles for handmade Valentine bookmarks. 
Watercolor with ribbon finished bookmarks in a follow up post. 

My day today was rounded out with a pickup of 46 cases, aka 552 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. 
Ah, the life of a volunteer. 
If I got paid for all the work I manage to juggle, I'd be on a beach right now. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mother and Daughter Ski Lessons? This Is Truly A First...

I'm over at Mile High Mamas today, I wrote about my weekend at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area where I skied for the first time ever in Colorado (did I just admit to that)! Oh and so did my 4 year old. Come read about how Sj, smiled and laughed at me as she took the lift to the top of the mountain and I was on the bunny hill. I truly never thought I'd see the day.

The full story here:
Arapahoe Basin: Mom and Daughter's First Ski Lessons 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Tips: My Favorite Brands Stance on GMO's? Whole Foods, Annie's Homegrown, Back To Nature, and SILK Soymilk's Response.

After the last couple of weeks and the passing of deregulated Genetically Engineered alfalfa by the USDA, all sorts of thoughts about GMO's (genetically modified organisms) have come rushing into my head. The long and short of it is, organic products are free of GMO's, it's part of the USDA organic certification process, but what about those "natural" products that aren't certified organic? 

Are those "natural" products full of GMO's?

I contacted 4 companies to get the word directly from them.

1. Annie's Homegrown (think cheddar bunnies, mac n cheese):
Thank you for taking the time to contact Annie's Homegrown. Genetically modified organism (GMO) refers to any genetic plant type that has had genes from a different species transferred into its genetic material using genetic engineering. 
Annie's Homegrown is opposed to the use of GMOs in our products and make every effort to insure that our suppliers furnish us with complete information so that we can adhere to this position. 
Thanks again for your inquiry. It's people like you who help make Annie's Homegrown a better company!
 2. Back To Nature (remember parent company, KRAFT aka Phillip Morris?):
Your feedback is very important and we'll do our best to respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible.  Our representatives are here to assist you Monday through Friday between the hours of 9am  to 9pm  Eastern Standard Time, excluding holidays.
Technically they haven't responded to my inquiry, which was back in January. Bummer. Maybe I should conclude an answer to that question. 

3. Whole Foods, Specific inquiry about the 365 Everyday Line (Whole Foods private label):
Yes, our 365 products have been formulated without GMO ingredients.  We are working to have all of our 365 products labeled as GMO free through the Non GMO Project, however this is a process that will take time.  As new labels are updated and printed, you will begin to see more products with the Non GMO Verified seal on store shelves.
4. Silk Soymilk and Almondmilk:
Silk soymilk and almondmilk are certified non-GMO by the NON-GMO Project

A few easy ways to do your own research is with the Non-GMO Project's website, which has a list of brands and products. They also have a free application, so you can check on a favorite product while standing right in the grocery store. I use it all the time! I encourage you to call or email the company directly if you are still unsure if their products contain GMO's and you are trying to avoid them.

Related Posts:
Surprise! Organic Brands' Parent Companies 
Why My Heart Hurts for America 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quick and Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (Sprinkles Recipe) with VIDEO

This post was inspired by a conversation on Twitter. I was a bit annoyed that someone who is well known for their baking blog wrote recipes calling for canned frosting. Now, what you use in your own home is your choice, but someone making a living calling themselves a "food blogger" using canned frosting is a FAIL in my book.

Once you make buttercream at home, there's really no reason to ever buy canned. I could make a 1,001 comparisons, but really homemade is the way to go. There is no chemical aftertaste, it spreads like butter, it has real ingredients, and it tastes divine. If you really need a shortcut, used boxed cake mix instead. Homemade frosting takes about 5 minutes. You don't need fancy ingredients either, this recipe uses 5 ingredients.

Lucky for me Santa put a Sprinkles dark chocolate cupcake mix (from Williams and Sonoma) in my stocking. This is the third mix I've tried and they are worth the money, warning they are pricey. With the mix comes a recipe for frosting that you have to make on your own, the recipe is listed below. If you are looking for a different chocolate buttercream recipe, my typical go to is the one on the side of the can of Hershey's baker's chocolate.

Sprinkles Chocolate Buttercream Recipe:

1 1/2 sticks (170g) unsalted butter, firm but not cold
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups (250g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 oz (85g) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with flat beater, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down sides. Do not over mix or it will incorporate too much air.

*Add milk 1 tsp at a time if frosting does not have a spreadable consistency (I did not need this step).

Frosts 12 cupcakes, enjoy!

Related Sprinkles posts, my cupcake indulgences!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2 Minute Bento vs. 5 Minute Bento

It was Friday, we were running late. I was hoping for a slam dunk, just buy hot lunch today moment, when we discovered it was chicken pot pie. Pass! So I literally had 2 minutes to get something together and get out the door.

Cheese quesadilla on whole wheat tortilla, very lightly toasted, so it's soft. Don't let it crisp up, it turns into flatbread by lunch time if you don't pull it out early. Grapes, homemade cheddar crackers, soba noodles with some sauce I whipped up for dinner the night before. There is broccoli hiding in the soba noodles, you just can't see it and remember the 2 minutes to prepare lunch, that includes this awful dark photo.

Enter the 5 minute bento, for my preschooler. 1/2 Rudi's organic cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese, grapes, red pepper and carrot flowers (ooh, too cute), red container has ranch (of course), and two Japanese EveryBurgers for a special treat. What a difference 3 minutes makes.

I Took The Plunge, Please Come See!

I started Eat Play Love in 2007 and beyond a few tweaks of the header every so often and from 2 columns to 3, I've never changed the design. Hint: the DOTS are gone! Please come click through and see what I did to the place!

What do you think?

ps...I have to switch up my header to remove the rounded corners, but other than that I'm liking it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Where Boulder Locals Go: Pizzeria Locale

Today I proved that I'm not like most women. I had a few hours of desperately needed free time and instead of getting a pedicure, running errands, or hitting the gym, I took myself to lunch. Pizzeria Locale opened a week ago Tuesday and I've been eagerly waiting for the right moment to pop in for lunch. I put the latest issue of Velo News in my purse and after preschool drop off, headed to Pearl Street.

I was dining solo, so the host offered me a spot at the bar. I happily accepted, as I was able to watch the chefs in action. I rested my arms on the gorgeous marble bar and daydreamed through the glass, staring longingly at the bowls of fresh lemons, hand tossed arugula, dough being gently coaxed from ball into a perfect circle ready for the oven, the buzz of bodies, small plates of delightful appetizers, and the hand shaving of a half wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Happily I was transported to a place and a feeling I haven't quite captured since the day I left Italy in tears.

The Stefano Ferrara oven was shipped from Italy and is the only one in Colorado. Rumor has it the opening of Pizzeria Locale was delayed due to an oven/customs debacle and this is actually a second oven that was shipped from Italy. Temperatures inside reach 1,000 degrees, it's beautifully round and dominates your attention as soon as you walk in the door. From what I've gathered, the master pizzaiolo spent over three months in Naples training for his position, gathering techniques, and soaking up the process. I will tell you, he was successfully trained.

I ordered the $9 lunch special it was the Antica (arugula insalate), Marinara pizza (san marzano tomatoes, garlic, oregano), and an iced tea of course. I opted to add fresh mozzerella di bufala for $4.

I should admit, I am not much of an arugula salad fan, but honestly I went for it knowing I wouldn't be disappointed. Right in front of my eyes, I watched the chef in his crisp white shirt and Molino Caputo hat, hand toss each salad with fresh lemon, olive oil, hand shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a perfect finishing off with aged balsamic. I came very close to ordering a second, but lucky for me my pie was out of the oven.

To my delight, the pizza filled the plate, the steam gently rose giving me a hint of what the Stefano Ferraro magically created. It was a marriage of the most simplest ingredients, but flavors bold and complex. I can't quite place what I liked best about it, the soft dough with just the perfect hints of crunchy crust, a delicate embrace of the mozzarella, or the surprise back notes of olive oil. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Don't be surprised when your pizza arrives uncut, dig in with your imported Italian knife.

My only gripe, too many English speaking patrons. If only they could pipe in Italian conversation, the experience would blow my mind.

Local tip, park a block down just east of 19th St, it's free. Meters end on the block between 18th and 19th on Pearl.

Pizzeria Locale
1730 Pearl St Boulder, CO 80302
Open Daily 11:30-2:30 and 4:30-10:30
They do accept reservations, 303.442.3003

I couldn't resist, ending this post with my favorite scene from Eat Pray Love. Tomorrow I'm off to buy some new jeans. Really, Julia Roberts could be sitting in Pizzeria Locale, except I have to admit, I think my pizza was better.

Disclosure, this was not a compensated post, I paid for this lunch, I will happily pay again and again and again and again....Bless the geniuses behind Pizzeria Locale!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hand Knitted Teapot Cosy, Sometimes I Surprise Myself

On Sunday, I stuck to my guns and stayed off my computer for the day. If you want to know the exact details, I actually had to hide my laptop out of sight so I wouldn't be tempted to just hop on for a minute. I put my iPhone in my sock drawer with the sound off and called myself unplugged for the day. Which left me with a long to do list in hand while also keeping the girls occupied.

Recently, I've been longing for a cosy for my teapot. A proper tea connoisseur does not live with out a cosy for her teapot. Living in a Starbucks obsessed country, it's not easy to just run out and get your hands on a cosy. Yes, I regret not picking one up when I was in London last year. Oh the guilt I carry.

If you put my my longing for the teapot cosy together with a day unplugged from the computer, the final result is the photo to the left. I knit my very own teapot cosy. Yes, I knit that!

First of all, let me give you some background on my knitting skills. I took a class at a craft store for $15 about 6 years ago. It was one class a few hours long and it taught the basic skills. I've picked up a knitting book or two since taking the class and have resigned myself to the fact that I should knit all things square or rectangle. Blankets no problem, scarves if they aren't fancy are no problem, doll blankets are a piece of cake. I even deviated and went on a little hat knitting craze about four years ago, but they truly are the only thing I knit that wasn't a rectangle. I've never followed a pattern because I was always too intimidated. Basketweave stitch was the highlight of my knitting hay day, oh fancy (if you don't knit, I'm joking). I haven't a clue on how to switch up colors to create things like stripes, so I knit in one color. Bottom line, I knit simple things.

While nosing about on the internet, I found a pattern for free on Ravelry and it was graded beginner. I read through the pattern and mulled over my potential for completing it more than a handful of times. It did seem simple, there were a few abbreviations that I had to familiarize myself with, but ultimately I decided to go for it!

Now my first attempt which is depicted in the photo, was a success. I mean it doesn't look as beautiful as the photo from the pattern, but it's not bad. My only problem? The pattern was for a 6 cup teapot, my largest teapot which is shown is only a 4 cup teapot. So now I have to seek out a bigger teapot for my cosy or knit a smaller cosy. Shucks. Since I kind of collect teapots I look forward to finding a larger one.

You may be wondering is it practical or just teapot fashion? I'm going to say practical and that it will absolutely extend the warmth of my tea, but lucky for me it is kinda cute.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Surprise! Our Favorite Organic Brands' Parent Companies

Back in January of 2009, my eyes were opened to a trend in the organic industry that I was very naive about. It was during a recall of peanut butter and products all tying back to the supplier, Peanut Corporation of America. I was surprised to see one of our favorite go to snack bars, LARA maker of the five ingredient or less Lara Bars, was on the recall list. Instantly I thought that was odd, I assumed a small Denver based company would not have such a mega-supplier. But turns out I came to learn a few things about Lara, the first being they were sold to General Mills. Read my original post here.

After doing some further reading, many parent companies of small organic brands came to light. I think the biggest disappointment for me is that quite a few organic brands have such a mom and pop persona, when purchasing them you feel like you are supporting something good. In some cases, the reality is you're just improving the bottom line of a tobacco company. Gulp.

The question that arises for me is at what point does the parent company start to interject their huge corporate philosophy into the small homegrown organic company? When do they start cutting corners, lessening quality standards, and skimping on sources of ingredients? I don't think we can quite say when, but I am sure it happens slowly over time.

Every dollar we chose to spend does make a difference. If a brand below and their parent company doesn't sit right with you, let it influence your buying decisions. For some people it may not bother them, I don't boycott these brands, but I certainly want to know where my money is going.

The Big Surprises:

Kraft Foods, Inc (who is owned by Altria aka. PHILIP MORRIS) owns Boca Foods and Back To Nature. Sticking my hand in a box of whole grain crackers is the same is lighting up a cigarette, I mean if we are talking about who gets the bottom line. Awesome, NOT!

Dean Foods owns White Wave, Alta Dena, Horizon Organic, and Organic Cow of Vermont. While I am happy to report that Dean Foods, sources their non-GMO soy from North American farms, see this link, I also discovered Dean is the country's largest dairy distributor. There has been a controversy about Hexane in the processing of soy products, read my post about it, here. Horizon Organic has also taken a lot of negative press for their factory farm style (as many as 8,000 cattle) Organic Dairies. Dean also has ties to Land O' Lakes, which is the company that has been named responsible for the development of the GE alfalfa that has come into heated debate this past week.

Hershey owns Dagoba Organic Chocolate. Aww, but their bars are so cute and special. Guess I'll save my $3.00 and buy a Hershey's bar with almonds instead.

General Mills owns LARA Bar, Cascadian Farms, and Muir Glen. I've known this for quite sometime. GM doesn't sit right with me and these partnerships bother me to no end. Cascadian Farms sources many of their frozen vegetables from China and Mexico, check their labels, they are open about the country of origin. It's hard for me to believe that the organic standards in China are the same here in the USA. Boy do I wish their produce still came from the northwest.

Unilever owns Ben and Jerry's. This partnership has not changed the face of Ben and Jerry's in my mind, will it? Time will tell.

Pepsi Co. owns Naked Juice. Ouch.

Coca-Cola owns Honest Tea and Odwalla. Double ouch.

Kelloggs owns Bear Naked, Kashi, and Morningstar Farms. I wonder why I pay a premium for these brands when it's just the same as the much cheaper Kelloggs. Or is it different? I'm not sure how to tell.

Heinz has a 20% stake in Hain Foods which owns, Bearitos, Celestial Seasonings, Jason Cosmetics, Earth's Best, Arrowhead Mills, Garden of Eatin, Health Valley.

Skin Care Companies:

Tom's of Maine is owned by Colgate/Palmolive. Big, big surprise there.

Burt's Bees was purchased a few years ago, are you ready for this, by Clorox. How in the world does that happen? Oh Burt your cute long bearded hippy smiling face just has a new persona now, I'm assuming you're happily retired on your Clorox cash in Costa Rica or some place exotic? Or are they getting much less toxic products out to the masses? Which stance is fair to take, I'm undecided.

These aren't small organic brands, but they do disguise themselves under the natural skincare philosophy. Estee Lauder owns Origins and Aveda. L'Oreal owns The Body Shop.

I tried to do some research on a few companies that I adore and I found that they are privately owned still. Kiss My Face, California Baby, and Dr. Bronner's to name three! Wow, way to go!

If you are a visual person, I highly recommend clicking on these two InfoGraphics, they are wonderful and one of the sources of my information. If you visit Philip Howard's website, he has more great infographics on the seed industry, soda industry, and the organics industry. He's an assistant professor at Michigan State University and a wealth of information.

Here is a list of brands that have not "sold out" yet. Impressive, I am sure they've been approached by many of the corporate giants on numerous occasions. More power to the littles! They instantly move to the top of my support list.

My goal is to help you feel more informed as a consumer. I hope I didn't just shatter your favorite organic brand's image.