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Archive for Product Review
April 15th, 2014
I’ve been wearing my favorite brown Earth Footwear boots for years. When I chose them I remember thinking they were the coolest boots ever (they are), and noticing that they were incredibly comfortable (they are). When I think of Earth Footwear I always think of comfort first. That must be why they’re marketing their new spring/summer 2014 line of shoes as “stylish and comfortable”.
Earth Footwear Fauna Platform Wedge
When I was asked to review the Fauna platform wedge from Earth Footwear I jumped. I was curious to see if years after purchasing my beloved Earth Footwear brown boots this brand could still pass my style and comfort test.
I chose the royal blue nubuck Faunas just to step outside my normal black and neutral color box. Truth be told, I was hoping that choosing a spring color would help spring actually arrive.
This photo doesn’t do these shoes justice. They are incredibly cute AND comfortable. Amazingly comfortable for a 2 1/2″ heel and a 1″ platform.
Although it appears that a button is holding the two straps in place, it’s actually Velcro! Ever since my kids were little and wore Velcro sneakers I’ve always wanted my own Velcro shoes. They’re so easy to adjust and take on and off.
If blue’s not your color, these shoes also come in beige and coral.
Over the years I’ve had several foot injuries from running and working out including plantar fasciitis and a heel spur. Flat sandals with no support no longer work for my sensitive feet. I’ve become very selective about the shoes I wear. These shoes (and all Earth Footwear) have a cushioned footbed with a padded heal area to displace shock. There’s even reinforced arch support. After wearing them for a few hours on a warm day last week I had no foot pain. That’s the true test of a good shoe for me.
These shoes are priced at $115.00. The entire Spring/Summer 2014 Earth Collection starts at $85–with the majority of the collection under $100.
Which are your favorite Earth Footwear shoes? Check out the full collection HERE.
P.S. If you sign up for the Earth eNewsletter you’ll automatically be entered into a monthly shoe giveaway!
Disclosure: Thank you to Earth Footwear and the Mamavation team for providing me with pair of shoes for this review. I did not receive any compensation for this post and the opinions expressed are my very own.
April 14th, 2014
Putting toxic chemicals under your arms stinks! That’s why MightyNest, a long time sponsor of this site and an internet retailer of high quality and safe products for our homes and families, asked me to put the natural deodorant, Primal Pit Paste, to the test.
Find out why you should choose a natural deodorant, then take the pledge to join me. Your pits will thank you, AND you could win a Happy Pit Pack from MightyNest (valued at over $100.00)!
MightyNest, Your School and an Earth Day Challenge
Before we jump into why natural deodorants are so important I wanted to make sure you were familiar with the MightyNest for Schools program. If your school does any fundraising (wrapping paper, chocolate, magazines-sound familiar?) you’ll want to hear about this. MightyNest started an easy to use fundraising tool for schools. MightyNest for Schools is an internet shopping fundraiser. It’s simple- parents shop at their convenience for healthy everyday items and 15% of their purchase goes back to the school.
With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, MightyNest is helping parents and schools through their Earth Day Challenge to pledge to make healthy changes that benefit their family and the planet. Until April 28th, we can all earn impact points by pledging to make simple changes (like making the switch to natural deodorant in the pledge below!). The school earning the most points will win a $1000 grand prize and other top schools will share $3000 in additional prizing.
My Week With Natural Deodorant: Primal Pit Paste
We are a culture obsessed with smelling pretty. Take a stroll down the deodorant aisle at any supermarket and the options are endless.
Did you know that it only takes 26 seconds for a body care product to enter our bloodstream? Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants could not only contain controversial aluminum, their ingredient list is long and filled with other suspicious chemicals that I don’t want on or in my body. That is reason enough for me to stop using conventional deodorants. Fortunately there are safer alternatives…….
Thanks to MightyNest I was sent a few samples of the natural deodorant from Primal Pit Paste to try out for a week.
Before using it I checked out the ingredient list: organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, organic beeswax, organic arrowroot powder, aluminum free baking soda, essential oils. Almost good enough to eat!
My workouts happen on most days so I was excited to really put Primal Pit Paste to the test this week. From spinning to running-I was incredibly active. The thyme and lemongrass scent wasn’t overpowering, and did it’s job. The deodorant was so easy to apply. The full sized version comes in a stick and it rolls right on under your arm pits.
My favorite scent was the orange creamsicle that happens to be earmarked for kids. It was bit challenging to apply the deodorant from the smaller, sample sized container since I had to use my finger. The stick was much easier. There’s also an unscented version and a lavender scent.
I’ve tried quite a few natural deodorants and I’m excited to add another one to my recommended list.
Take the Pledge and Enter to Win!
One lucky Groovy Green Livin reader is going to win a Happy Pit Kit valued at over $100 from the folks at MightyNest! The prize pack includes a sample pack of deodorants (in various scents), Lifefactory glass water bottle, Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil, a set of 3 Go Toob reusables travel tubes, Preserve razor and extra replacement cartridges, Planet Wise wet/dry cosmetics bag, and Dr. Bronner’s organic shave gel.
Now you know — there’s a natural deodorant that not only works, it’s also completely safe for your body. So, pledge to green your pits and you could win a Happy Pit Kit from MightyNest. You’ll also have a chance to help your school celebrate Earth Day and win up to $1000 in the MightyNest for Schools Earth Day Challenge!
Disclosure: Thanks to MightyNest for supplying me with samples of the natural deodorant to test. This post is brought to you by MightyNest. All opinions are my very own. For more information on sponsored posts, read here.
April 9th, 2014
Over the years I’ve been searching for safe and non-toxic cookware. Despite the ease and convenience of non-stick pots and pans such as Teflon, many health conscious people (including me!) are tossing their non-stick and replacing them with healthier options.
I’ve always been a stainless steel fan. Much of my cookware is stainless steel and I’ve recently added a few cast iron pieces to our kitchen.
When 360 Cookware asked me to test out a piece of their stainless steel cookware I was intrigued. They sent me a one quart saucepan for review.
What is 360 Cookware?
Their cookware is stainless steel (my favorite) and comes with a lifetime warranty. Here are a few other favorite features:
- The handle stays cool while you’re cooking.
- The pots and pans are oven safe up to 400 degrees.
- You can actually bake in a pan on your stove-top.
- No water or oil required for cooking.
- There are no harsh chemicals used in the finish of these pans and food rarely sticks.
360 Cookware’s claim to fame is their Vapor Technology that’s used when cooking food.
What is Vapor Technology?
Vapor Technology allows you to cook on low to medium heat without water or oil. The design and metal of the pans enables food to cook in its own natural juices.
Forming a vapor seal is key to vapor cooking. Once the domed lid is in place and steam is coming out the sides of the lid you then spin the lid. Once this happens the heat should be reduced to low and the Vapor Technology is active.
The design of the pan is interesting. Aesthetically it’s a very nice looking pot. The domed lid cradles perfectly on top of the pan and truly does hold in the moisture. The pans heats the food evenly, surrounding it 360 degrees with heat. Hence the name 360 Cookware. The concept is pretty simple-the pot essentially turns into a mini-oven on your stove top. 360 Cookware has tested the vapor technology against other cookware claims that it can result in energy use reduction of 200-600% while conserving natural resources.
My favorite feature: There is no grease or oil needed for cooking in these pans! I’m still finding this a hard concept to get used to.
I’ve been using my one quart saucepan for sauce, vegetables and other smaller side dishes. It’s really not big enough to cook chicken or other main courses for a family of 5.
Clean up of 360 Cookware
One night while multitasking I accidentally left steaming vegetables in the pan for too long. The pan was in pretty bad shape after this mishap. After a bit of elbow grease the pan looks as good as new. HERE are some of my tips for cleaning stainless steel pots and pans.
My Take on 360 Cookware
I really like this pot. It’s a nice stainless steel addition to our kitchen. It’s a bit wider than my All-Clad Stainless 1-Quart Saucepan, which I like. It’s easier to stir food and it cooks everything evenly.
I’m still not completely sold on the Vapor Technology. The lid does fit tighter than my other stainless steel pots and pans, however the jury is still out on whether 360 Cookware has this special edge over other brands.
This is a bit pricey for a one quart saucepan, but the quality is there. It’s priced the same as the All-Clad Stainless 1-Quart Saucepan. If you’re buying top of the line cookware this is a great brand to check out.
What stainless steel pots and pans are your favorite?
Disclosure: 360 Cookware sent me a one quart pot for review. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support in this way!
March 19th, 2014
Yogurt on the Go!
Parents with young children know that snacks are a necessity. When my kids were little we never left home without our arsenal of food. I remember putting a lot of time into packing the right things. Variety was key, as was quantity. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that forgotten snacks could very well mean an early end to our adventure.
On many days, remembering the snacks was only half the battle. There were countless times when snacks were opened, two bites were taken and the kids were off and running again. The playground comes to mind as a place where snacks were quickly discarded so the kids could jump back into a game of tag. Many times the opened and uneaten yogurt cup or applesauce cup ended up in a garbage can since there was no way to close them up for transport. There was a lot of wasted food.
Stonyfield Yogurt Pouches to the Rescue!
I am excited to be partnering with Stonyfield for this post. Stonyfield has a new product on the market that was created to cut down on the amount of wasted snacks. Their new yogurt pouches are a convenient snack option. Each pouch is filled with organic fruit and/or vegetable infused yogurt and never have any high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. There are three different options and each comes in a variety of flavors: YoBaby, YoToddler and YoKids .
Life would have been a bit easier if these were around when my kids were infants and toddlers.
With these new yogurt pouches kids can not only feed themselves, but there’s no need for us grownups to carry around spoons, bibs, bowls, and breakable jars.
The child-safe cap on the yogurt pouches reseals for flexible portions. The kids can take a bite or two and then put the cap back on, saving the rest for later. Each yogurt pouch can be out of refrigerator for up to 4 hours. It’s suggested that the yogurt pouches be re-sealed once and consumed within 24 hrs once they’re opened.
I’m really looking forward to tasting the YoToddlers pear-spinach-mango yogurt pouch. I think my kids will go for the standard blueberry and strawberry YoKids pouches.
What’s your favorite yogurt flavor? I’m sticking with vanilla.
This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. I did receive compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
photo credit: Mark Kenny via photopin cc
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.)