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Archive for Product Review
February 28th, 2014
I’m dreaming of a warm vacation. Preferably one that requires a swimsuit. When I woke up this morning the outside temperature was 9 degrees. I know I’m not the only dreamer. Many places are still covered in snow with no sign of spring in the near future.
So all I can do is dream of warm weather and beach filled days.
Thanks to the kind folks over at ECO SWIM by AQUA GREEN I have a new eco-friendly swimsuit, making my dreams of summer feel within reach.
ECO SWIM by Aqua Green recently released a fabulous line-up of swimsuits in their 2014 collection. This company does it right – showing us how a swimsuit and sustainability can work hand in hand.
Finding a swimsuit that fits in all the right places isn’t an easy task. I have a pretty high standard and generally end up spending too much time on the hunt for the perfect suit.
Last year right around this time I tried an Eco Swim suit and it ended up being my favorite suit last summer. The suit actually fit and it covered everything it needed to be covered. The quality of the material was impressive. After a lot of time in the water and on the beach there was no pilling and no thinning. It will make an appearance again this swimsuit season.
Driving Change One Swimsuit at a Time
ECO SWIM by Aqua Green is doing so many things to help preserve our planet. They said it best: “We all share one planet. We don’t get another shot.”
Here are some of the eco things that they’re doing:
- New this year: they’ve added waterless dyeing to the brands 2014 collection, which means ECO SWIM by Aqua Green is able to save even more precious resources and is more ocean-friendly than ever before.
- They strive to source locally and make their products in the USA which reduces the use of fossil fuel up to 96.9%
- Their fabrics are made from recycled nylon, polyester and cotton. They are also introducing recycled fabrics from renewable sources such as coffee grinds and corn.
- They are incorporating processes that use less water.
- ECO SWIM does not just talk the talk, they walk the walk. They regularly conduct beach and waterways cleanups in areas of need. To date, ECO SWIM by Aqua Green has removed over 4 tons of ocean pollution from oceans and waterways in the United States.
Swimsuit From Eco Swim 2014 Collection
This year I chose a swim suit with a splash of color. Turquoise. I already knew my size and was thrilled that it fit when it arrived. It felt good knowing that the hanger it arrived on was made from recycled materials.
What I love most about the new 2014 swim suit collection:
- The suits are flattering-not too low in all the wrong spots.
- The material is luxurious and last much longer than other suits I’ve worn.
- The color combinations are perfect. There’s something for everyone.
- The swimsuits are made for ALL sizes. There are bikinis, tankinis, halters and everything in between.
Where Can I Get a New Eco Swim Suit?
Good news! ECO SWIM by Aqua Green are sold at some of my favorite retailers including Nordstrom, Sundance, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and more.
Let’s get ready for summer together. Did you find a swimsuit that you liked?
photo credit: visualpanic via photopin cc
February 5th, 2014
I have struggled over the years trying to find non-toxic shampoos that actually work. It always a two step process. First the research, making sure the ingredients are safe and non-toxic. Second, the family stamp of approval. The shampoos have to smell nice and our hair needs to feel clean. We weren’t asking for much.
Keeping in mind that our skin, including our scalp, is part of our largest organ and happily soaks up toxic chemicals from all those products we are placing on our bodies, my quest to find a safe shampoo has been top priority. Using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as my guide I managed to find a few shampoos that passed the non-toxic test and then received the family stamp of approval.
My Picks for Non-Toxic Shampoos
(Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site.).
Our go-to shampoo this year is Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash. This product isn’t only for babies! It has a slight citrus scent that isn’t overpowering. The shampoo comes in a self-foaming pump bottle. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).
$9.00 for 5.3 oz
This shampoo is new for me and I’m really liking it. I know that lather doesn’t mean that a shampoo is working well, however I do like a shampoo that lathers. Hugo Naturals Balancing Shampoos really do lather, which is rare for a non-toxic shampoo. The coconut scented variation has a slight vanilla coconut scent that is really nice. Although the data is listed as “limited”, the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).
$9.99 for 12 oz
I recently spotted Acure Organics Shampoo on the shelf at my local Whole Foods Market and decided to give it a try. I visited the company website and liked what I saw. Their mission is to create high quality skin care products made from the purest, fair trade, natural and certified organic ingredients. More good news- I could pronounce most of the ingredients! The smell is interesting (can’t quite place my finger on what it is) and mild. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a one (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).
$9.99 for 8 oz
Although this shampoo isn’t big on the lather, it makes up for it in other areas. The shampoo is made with 15 certified-organic ingredients and is gluten-free. John Masters Organics Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for Normal Hair doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate. The lavender and rosemary scent is very pleasant. The shampoo is a bit pricey ($16.00 fr 8 fl oz). The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a two (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).
$16.oo for 8 oz
What’s your favorite non-toxic shampoo?
If you’re looking for a non-toxic body lotion take a look at my pick for non-toxic body lotions HERE.
Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you. (Read all the fine print here.)
photo credit: stirwise via photopin cc
January 28th, 2014
Valentine’s Day with Lunchbox Love
Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away and guess what…..we’ve done nothing! Over the years somehow we’ve become very good at pulling our Valentine’s together at the very last possible second. Why should this year be any different?
As some of you may remember, I was selected to be a member of the Lunchbox Love Mom Panel. Thanks to Lunchbox Love we have a great Valentine’s Day option. Check out these clever Valentine’s Day cards.
The cards come in a two volume pack with 24 Valentine’s cards–enough for classmates and teachers. Each card in the pack says “Happy Valentine’s Day!” on the front and has a unique animal fun fact on the back.
The cards are small, about the size of a business card, so we are going to attach something to them. We have a no food policy in our school so we’ll have to think outside of the box. My son is in 4th grade so I think these Mini Mad Libs will work well. Have you ever heard a group of 10 year old boys fill out a Mad Lib? Pretty hilarious.
More on Valentine’s Day
If you’re looking for a few more ideas to make your Valentine’s Day eco-friendly take a look HERE.
Did you know that Valentine’s Day marks the biggest shopping day of the year when it comes to chocolate and flowers? Wondering how to avoid GMOs this Valentine’s Day? Some of our favorite makers of chocolate are some of the strongest supporters of NOT labeling products that contain GMOs. Make sure you look for organic chocolate or chocolates with the Non-GMO Project Verified seal.
Disclosure: I’m a member of the Lunchbox Love® Mom Panel and am compensated for promoting the company in a variety of ways, including writing posts like this one. All opinions are my very own. Also, please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you. (Read all the fine print here.)
January 23rd, 2014
There’s nothing like returning from a vacation and finding a fridge filled with organic, nonfat, Stonyfield Greek yogurt. Yet another reason I love working with Stonyfield.
Stonyfield kicked off the new year by releasing a new line of organic Greek yogurt, which now features an even creamier texture and two new flavors, Black Cherry and Cafe Latte. Part of my role as a Stonyfield Yo-Getter and a Yo-Getter Captain is to test out new Stonyfield products and report back to you. I love my job.
Info About Stonyfield Greek Yogurt
Stonyfield Greek is made with delicious organic ingredients. Even better news~ you won’t find any of these in their Greek yogurt:
- Artificial hormones, or
Stonyfield Greek is a perfect snack-it’s high in protein and has about 120 calories per serving.
Stonyfield Greek yogurt comes in two sizes, 5.3oz single cups and 4oz 4-packs, and a variety of flavors including Vanilla, Blueberry, Plain, Super Fruits, Strawberry, Chocolate, Peach Mango, Pineapple, Raspberry, Honey, Lemon, Caramel, NEW Black Cherry and NEW Cafe Latte.
My Stonyfield Greek Yogurt Taste Test
Most of you know that I don’t eat a lot of dairy. However, I do make exceptions for really good ice cream and delicious Stonyfield Greek yogurt. What can I say? I can’t resist.
Thanks to the arrival of the awesome package from Stonyfield I was able to try out the Blueberry, Strawberry, Super Fruits and Black Cherry. I loved them all. My favorites were the Blueberry and Black Cherry. I also dipped into the Cafe Latte and the jury’s still out. Could be because I’m not a coffee drinker and coffee or mocha flavors generally don’t do it for me.
Now it’s your turn- you gotta try this #StonyfieldGreek! I’d love to hear what you think about the new flavors and the new creamy taste!
Want to know more? Visit Stonyfield, follow Stonyfield on Twitter and Facebook.
Disclosure: Stonyfield sent me a sampling of their Stonyfield Greek yogurt to test. I work closely with Stonyfield as a Yo-Getter Captain and am compensated for this. All opinions in this post are my very own.
January 14th, 2014
This is a guest post by Beth Buczynski, author of the newly released book: Sharing is Good: How to Save Money, Time and Resources through Collaborative Consumption. The book is designed to expose readers to specific services that make sharing fun and safe. It examines the history, barriers and benefits of sharing, and provides hundreds of resources that can jump-start a sharing lifestyle.
Not so long ago, I realized something: the key to living a low-impact life isn’t buying all organic clothing or putting solar panels on your house. It’s also not giving up your car or ridding your home of plastic.
While these behaviors certainly go a long way toward a greener lifestyle, they’re not accessible to everyone. Some people can’t make the necessary sacrifices, and some people just won’t. And if everyone can’t get on board, what’s the point? All the LED light bulbs and reuseable shopping bags in the world aren’t going to “save the planet.” You can buy all the bamboo, fair-trade, recyclable stuff you want, but it won’t slow climate change. It just won’t.
What we need is a totally new system. A new economy that’s not based entirely in consumerism–even green consumerism. We need a shift in attitudes and action that brings people together while reducing waste. I know-it sounds too good to be true, but that system is already here. It’s called the sharing economy, and it’s disrupting just about every industry we’ve got.
This new way of living replaces individual consumption with collaborative consumption–a fancy term for services and products that are meant to be shared, rather than bought or owned in the traditional sense. Although sharing isn’t a new concept, it’s being reinvented and elevated through new technologies. And it’s working.
Instead of buying yet another thing that will be used once and set up on the shelf, people are sharing. Using platforms like SnapGoods and Rent The Runway, they’re lending and borrowing everything from power tools to designer clothing. Through services like yerdle and cooking co-ops, they’re swapping toys and meals. They’re using platforms like Airbnb, RelayRides, and Deskcamping to make homes, cars and offices available to those who need them.
In addition to providing access to things that might otherwise be out of reach, the sharing economy is helping to rebuild community connections and relationships with those we used to view as strangers. Neighbors are learning each others names and lifting each other up in difficult times. New friendships are forged over shared meals, cars, and spare bedrooms. Those who do the sharing are, in some cases, creating significant streams of alternative income, while those who take advantage of shared items and space are saving tons of money.
And the happy by-product of all this sharing? We’re consuming less. We’re wasting less time, space, and money. We’re emitting fewer greenhouse gases. We’re sacrificing less. Items are passed from user to user instead of being trashed. Companies are taking notice too, designing innovative products that are meant to be shared, repaired, and shared again instead of becoming almost instantly obsolete. Cities are forging new policies that encourage the sharing of assets large and small, instead of making those behaviors illegal or too costly for the average Joe.
Most importantly, sharing is something anyone can do–regardless of where they live or how much money they make. We can’t all share everything, but everyone can share something, whether it’s tangible goods, time, skills, or space.
If you’d like to learn more about why I believe humans are hard-wired to share, as well as gain access to hundreds of tips and resources that will make sharing easy and safe, please check out my new book, Sharing is Good: How to Save Money, Time and Resources through Collaborative Consumption. It’s a practical guide to the sharing economy, designed to help you figure how to make this new trend work for your family. It’s available in print and electronic versions, via Amazon and the iTunes store. I also encourage you to request it through your local independent bookstore or library, so that your entire community can learn more!
About the author: Beth Buczynski is an independent writer and editor covering clean technology, sustainable design, and environmental issues for some of the most popular green sites on the web. Got questions? Connect with her on the Sharing is Good Facebook Page or on Twitter as @TheSharingBook.
December 19th, 2013
Go Green With FLOR
There’s one room in our house that doesn’t get much attention. Our living room. It’s a lonely space in our house. The only reason we venture into the room is for our once a week piano lessons. After that there’s the occasional 5 minute practice sessions throughout the week. Otherwise the room is dark and empty.
FLOR to the rescue
Our living room has hardwood floors and the area carpet we were using was very thin. Not a great space for hanging out.
Thanks to the new FLOR store on Newbury Street in Boston I was able to work in person with Kelly, one of their fabulous designers to create a new area rug for the room. Maybe this will up the activity in our lonely living room?
FLOR carpets are made from design squares that essentially fit together like a large puzzle.
There’s more to love about FLOR
- Design: Every 19.7-inch carpet square is made with renewable and recycled content
- Manufacturing: FLOR’s manufacturing processes use renewable energy sources and technologies which help reduce their emissions and waste
- Use: When FLOR gets stained beyond repair, you can replace individual tiles – not a whole rug or whole room of carpet (less waste!). With three young boys, this is by far the biggest selling point for me.
- Delivery: FLOR’s local production (Georgia, USA) limits flying the product all over the world, which significantly reduces transportation costs, emissions and, ultimately, their environmental impact.
- Reclaiming: Designed to be taken apart, FLOR’s face fibers and backing materials can be recycled into new product through their Return & Recycle Program
- Standards: Most FLOR styles meet or exceed the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus standards or low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
If you’ve never worked with FLOR before it’s a pretty incredible (and simple!) process. At the store Kelly showed me a variety of options that would go well with the color combination already in the room.
We wanted to add a pop of color, so after much deliberation a blueish carpet was the winner. The number of design options are overwhelming (in a good way). That’s why working with a designer really helps narrow down the choices and it’s free! If there isn’t a FLOR store near you, it’s still simple to design a carpet on-line.
I’ve worked with FLOR before and have a block print carpet with a whimsical pattern that Wissam (pictured above) helped me design. That’s what makes FLOR so wonderful-you can really create any design.
The carpet squares come in boxes that look like this.
The carpet can be pieced together any way you like. For this carpet it didn’t really matter how the squares were lined up.
The carpet is held together with FLORdots. These are one-sided, non-toxic adhesives that stick to the bottom of each square – sticky side up. The square then adheres to its carpet square neighbor – not to the floor underneath. I was concerned that these dots wouldn’t hold the carpet together, but they do. There have been no issues at all.
So now the new carpet is in place and the room is looking warm and inviting. Only time will tell if this will be a new hangout spot in our house.
If you’re interested in learning more about FLOR you can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.
Have you ever been to a FLOR store or tried a FLOR carpet?
Disclosure: Thank you to FLOR for providing me with a designer and carpet for this review. The opinions expressed in this post are my very own.
December 4th, 2013
Plastic wrap has been around for generations working hard to preserve leftovers and keep food from becoming stale. It’s a staple in many households and used on a daily basis. Unfortunately, our convenient, handy plastic wrap has a dirty little secret: it’s made from a form of plastic called low-density polyethylene (LDPE).
After we use plastic wrap it ends up in our overflowing landfills and takes forever to decompose. A more important issue on my end is that I really don’t want plastic touching anything I’m going to eat.
I gave up plastic wrap many years ago, although a single roll of Cling Wrap still sits in my kitchen drawer. My search for a safe alternative to plastic wrap is an ongoing process.
When my friends over at MightyNest asked me to try Bee’s Wrap I was curious to see if this alternative to plastic wrap would really work.
What is Bee’s Wrap? A Safe Alternative to Plastic Wrap
Bee’s Wrap is a reusable beeswax-and-cloth alternative to plastic wrap. It’s made with organic cotton, beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. That’s it!
Simply mold the Bee’s Wrap to the top of any dish by using the warmth and pressure of your hands to create a seal. When the Bee’s Wrap cools (within seconds) it holds its seal. Use the same method to wrap cheese, vegetables, bread, and baked goods. It is not recommended for meat.
Sarah Kaeck is the creator of Bee’s Wrap and lives with her family on a working farm in Vermont. Her family grows and preserves most of their own vegetables, they milk goats, raise sheep, pigs and chickens. Sarah explains what inspired her to create Bee’s Wrap:
“Our family life revolves around the garden and kitchen. But all of this food needed to be kept fresh and growing concerns about our environment and the health safety of plastic, made plastic no longer a viable option for food storage.”
Bee’s Wrap Can be Used Again and Again
The antibacterial properties of beeswax and jojoba oil help keep food fresh and allow Bee’s Wrap to be used again and again. Wash the wrap in cool soapy water. Air dry, fold and store in a drawer or in a basket on the counter. Do not subject to heat!
My set of Bee’s Wrap from Mightynest came with 3 wraps: small (7″x8″), medium (10″x11″) and large (13″x14″). The cost for all three wraps is $17.95.
Does Bee’s Wrap work?
My hands are generally pretty cold so I had to rely on the pressure from my hands rather than the warmth to mold the wrap onto a dish. My first attempt was over a bowl of pasta. After spending a few minutes molding the wrap (it took a bit longer than I had hoped), I slipped the covered bowl into the fridge. The next day the pasta was perfect-the seal tight and the food remained fresh. The wrap was easy to wash and store for future use.
What do you use in place of plastic wrap?
Disclosure: MightyNest sent me a sample of Bee’s Wrap to try out. The opinions in this post are my very own.