Spit That Out!

The Overly Informed Parent's Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt by Paige Wolf

Blogging about green guilt, eco-anxiety, and finding practical, reasonable ways to keep our families safe and healthy.
July 1st, 2015

True Down to Earth Decadence with Juniper Seed Mercantile

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Juniper Seed Mercantile is proof that luxurious, effective, organic beauty does not have to be expensive. Their motto is “Down To Earth Decadence” allowing you to  take care of your skin and the environment at the same time, without spending a fortune!

With it’s best availability on Etsy, Juniper Seed Mercantile is grassroots enough to keep you on budget, but savvy enough to package with polish. And that’s why their Etsy shop is blowing up!

At only $11, the Soft Whipped Facial Creme Soap with Ground Walnut Shells and Tea Tree Oil is everything I’ve ever wanted in a face wash. I use tea tree oil all the time to soothe skin redness but I also love the exfoliation of walnut shells. And I love even more that it comes already whipped to perfection, unlike many cleansing grains meant to be mixed with water – leading to a serious mess in my bathroom sink.

The Cucumber Eye Cream is rich with cucumber and calendula oil, and great for super sensitive skin around the eyes. And the Cucumber Rose Facial Toner is a skin-softening, hydrating cleanser for all skin types.

One of their coolest products – and one of my 2015 Best of Natural Beauty Winners – is their lip balms – 100% plastic-free and compostable! The waste-hater in me is simply giddy with these compostable paper tube lip balms, which are double the size of a typical plastic tube so they last even longer! My favorite is the Chai Spice blend, sweetened with stevia and scented with cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper and other spices – completely natural and perfect for anyone with sensitivities to artificial flavors. It’s also beeswax free for the vegan crowd.

Plus each order usually arrives with a sample item which you can even pick out yourself!

Joan and Tiffany are the incredibly sweet mother-daughter team that makes up Juniperseed Mercantile. They are passionate about using earth-friendly ingredients, responsible packaging, and ship all of their orders using reclaimed materials and paper tape. Many of their ingredients are organic, and they source their palm oil from Brazil to protect the Orangutan habitat in Indonesia. They are hardcore eco in the best way possible! :)

Check out their Etsy shop and stock up at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JuniperseedMerc. (p.s. Did you know Ebates now gives back 1% on Etsy purchases?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received samples of these products for review as well as monetary compensation. Regardless, my opinions are honest. See my full disclosure here. 

 

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my monthly newsletter. Receive green living news, discounts, giveaways, and events delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

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June 22nd, 2015

Best Natural Beauty Products 2015 – 4th Edition

beauty

It’s time for my annual round-up of the best natural beauty products, gleaned from trying and testing almost every brand around!

After spending another year trying out some of the best organic luxury beauty products on the market, I have a few new favorites to share and a few that have stood the test of time. Others have been removed from the list because of purity of ingredients, annoying repackaging, or simply finding something that worked better.

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Moom Organic Hair Removal System

Just admit it – you have always wanted to wax your own bikini line. I know it’s been a long time dream of mine, fulfilling both type-A hair plucking fantasies as well as saving time and money. I googled “natural waxing” and remained totally skeptical when I ordered Moom Organic Hair Removal system. But O-M-G it works! And the pain is far less than I remember feeling at the waxing salons. Probably my favorite product of the year (even though it’s possibly been around for ages).

Also, a tip for the eco and budget savvy – don’t waste money buying more fabric strips! You can tear up old sheets and pillowcases – I even used a stained tuxedo shirt!

 

Juniper Seed Mercantile Chai Spice Lip Balm

What’s better than a delicious all natural lip balm? One that is 100% plastic-free and compostable! The waste-hater in me is simply giddy with these compostable paper tube lip balms, which are double the size of a typical plastic tube so they last even longer! The Chai Spice blend is sweetened with stevia and scented with cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper and other spices – completely natural and perfect for anyone with sensitivities to artificial flavors. It’s also beeswax free for the vegan crowd.

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Board and Batten Glowing Solution

I had the opportunity to work with this brand this year and this product was the favorite of all our celebrity testers. It’s a lightweight, concentrated blend of oils and extracts that saturates your skin with omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I wear it day and night.

Acorelle Perfumes

My love for these natural perfumes warranted its own post earlier this year. My personal favorites are Divine Orchid, R of Rose, and Absolu Tiare. So, if you are like one of my many friends who swears she can’t give up her beloved perfume, I urge you to give these a whiff!

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Deep Steep Body Wash

I love everything about this rosemary mint bodywash apart from the fact that the container tends to leak, leaving me constantly needing to buy more. The scent and texture is perfect and I like to stock up majorly when it is on sale.

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Miessence Purifying Skin Conditioner
My friend Erin has been selling this Australian brand for a while and raving about how natural and effective the formulas were. After trying a few for ourselves, both my husband and I were hooked. This skin toner is one of my favorites, especially for breakout problem areas

Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

I’m not the first to tell you about the wonders of coconut oil. In fact, I am probably late to the party. But I love this stuff! I use it straight from the jar to moisturize and heal, and mixed with essential oils for all sorts of remedies. I also use it to make everything I cook taste five times more delicious!

 

 

Tried and True: These rock star products have remained on my list and have yet to be replaceable.

Piperwai Natural Deodorant
I met these two girls at a Philly flea market and couldn’t believe how amazing this natural deodorant is. The scent is totally pleasant, fresh, and unisex, and activated charcoal is the special ingredient to make it last through your toughest summer workouts. I like to credit myself for turning this into a cult fave!

Stinky Girl Beauty Company Hair Powder + Dry Shampoo
Also made locally in Philadelphia, this product has made it possible for me to only wash my hair 2-3 times per week while doing CrossFit four times per week. And it comes in a salt shaker!

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub
I like my facial scrubs gritty, and Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub leaves your skin feeling super clean and polished. Organic Sea Kelp, Organic Lemon, and Organic Cocoa Powder gently exfoliate your skin while French Green Clay and removes impurities from your pores.

Goddess Garden Natural Sunscreen
This is the absolute best natural sunscreen I have found. It comes in an easy to apply spray – but not a traditional aerosol spray. It’s closer to a liquid that goes on sheer unlike most natural sunscreens that leave a thick white film. And it has worked great on my super pale child.

Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick in Coquette
Ever since I found this perfect color it is pretty much all I wear. Sometimes I wear it with no other makeup just to wake up my face and I always get compliments. I have also found that it looks amazing on every complexion.

Kure Bazaar Nail Lacquer in Stiletto
I usually only wear polish on my toes but this brand is the best non-toxic polish I’ve ever tried. The unique formula is made from up to 85% of natural origin based on wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes and corn – and still maintains top notch glamour.

Kjaer Weis Mascara
The ingredients in Kjaer Weis Mascara contain nourishing properties, with 99.8% sourced from organic farming. It glides on easily, with a sleek wand that adds the perfect amount of product, delivers great definition, and adds layers to eyelashes.

W3LL PEOPLE Elitist Mineral Shadow
Pure pigments in a beautiful finish. Perfect for easy shading, highlighting, contouring and lining.

Chocolate Sun Sunless Tanning Cream
The answer to streak-free, toxin-free, sun-ray-free beautifully tanned skin! And it smells delicious.

Yarok Shampoo and Conditioner
I have tried it all for my big mess of hair, and this is my favorite.

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer
Brings you back when you look like death warmed over.

Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation
So light and luminous – like silk.

Have you tried these products? What do you think?

 

Disclosure: Some of these brands are past or present clients and some have sent me free samples. But most are simply items I have purchased, loved, and bought again and again! Regardless, my opinions are honest.See my full disclosure here. 

 

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my monthly newsletter. Receive green living news, discounts, giveaways, and events delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

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June 17th, 2015

Stonyfield and Late July Easy Party Chip and Dip

Summer feels like never-ending snack time with Bar-B-Qs, beach days, and birthday parties. I’m trying to keep the snacks for my two-year-old’s birthday party relatively healthy, to mitigate the requisite pizza and too-lazy-to-bake-it-myself store bought cake.

Fortunately I received some treats and tips from my friends at Stonyfield Yogurt and Late July Snacks, two of my favorite organic food brands. Late July’s tasty tortilla chips are a perfect swap out for potato chips and Tostitos, and pair wonderfully with simple yogurt-based dips.

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We’re fans of the Late July Organic Sea Salt by the Seashore Multigrain Tortilla Chips as well as the Sub-Lime flavor!

yogurt

I modified the already super easy Creamy Dill Greek Yogurt Dip recipe on Stonyfield’s Web site by simply using yogurt, dill, and lemon with a pinch of garlic and red wine vinegar. This is a favorite dressing for meat and veggies as well.

Easy peasy – and gone in minutes!

Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. Regardless, my opinions are honest. See my full disclosure here. 

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June 15th, 2015

Health and Environmental Things My Parents Actually Did Right

Throughout my book, blog, and daily life I have been notorious for giving my parents a hard time for their fridge full of margarine and carrying Sweet & Low packets everywhere they go. (Yes, I have tried introducing them to organic stevia drops and real butter. It’s hopeless). While I still can’t get them to wrap their head around the fact that those aren’t real blueberries in their Nutri-System muffins, I’ve realized I should give them credit for some things they did right, back before healthy living was more than Jane Fonda workout tapes and Snackwells.

1) Growing up we always had a small salad before dinner. True, it was mostly iceberg lettuce with Wishbone dressing, but research out of Penn State shows that eating a first-course salad can reduce overall calorie intake at a meal by up to 12 percent. My husband and I often start our meals with a salad course, but for our children that usually just means a side of carrots with their mac and cheese.

2) There was a time when I, like most children, begged for the Count Chocula cereal I saw in commercials. I’m so glad that my mother put her foot down and didn’t allow us any cereal that was made predominantly of chocolate marshmallows. Sure, there were occasional Lucky Charms, but we mostly stuck to a steady diet of Cheerios and Special K.

3) I remember learning about the red and blue bins for recycling back in elementary school. Of course, back then no one took that particularly seriously, least of all me. But my mother remained steadfast in her sorting and continues to recycle to this day – even if it means picking out all the items my father still throws in the garbage.

4) I was one of the few kids who wasn’t allowed chocolate milk at snack time, and didn’t mind at all. Whole milk in elementary and skim in high school. Of course, now I don’t really drink dairy at all, but I don’t think almond milk even existed in the ’80s.

5) While the containers may have once been filled with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, at least those plastic containers always got repurposed. The stockpile of empty margarine containers at my house was legendary, and now their container of choice is an empty pill bottle. Sure, they fill it with Coffee-mate and it looks like they are transporting cocaine, but at least they are upcycling!

Whenever my parents visit they bring a ziplock bag with a small water bottle, a K-cup, Sweet&Low, and a pill bottle filled with Coffeemate non-dairy  creamer

Whenever my parents visit they bring a ziplock bag with a small water bottle, a K-cup, Sweet&Low, and a pill bottle filled with Coffeemate non-dairy creamer.

Did your parents instill any eco-values, even if they were accidental? Have you been able to get your parents on board with small green changes?

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June 3rd, 2015

Buy Nothing Project Group Update

Since I started Philadelphia’s first Buy Nothing Project, the group has exploded locally (as well as globally, headed by their dedicated admin team). The local launch picked up publicity in Philadelphia Magazine and quickly grew to more than 400 members!

Additional groups formed in Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Fairmount, and even the burbs! And our Bella Vista/Washington Square/Queen Village group is working on breaking off the South Philly and Graduate Hospital members into their own groups to create more walkable neighborhood community groups.

I’m encouraging the split for a couple reasons. Mainly, a puzzle or a jar of jam is far less appealing when you realize you’d have to walk 3 miles to get it. And this group is about fostering small neighborhood communities – no one should have to travel more than a mile, and driving all around the city picking up odds and ends is not really the idea. People interested in casting a wider net for giving and receiving can also join groups like Free Your Stuff Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, I have met so many lovely people, some of whom have lived just down the street for me for years but we had never connected. I’ve seen TONS of items put to good use throughout our community and kept out of the landfills – not to mention saving money and consumption on new items!

In just six months, here are the items I have personally gifted and received:

Gifted:

  • An assortment of binders, folders, and other office supplies
  • Outgrown baby clothes and toys
  • A carseat and stroller
  • A collection of matchbooks
  • A small space heater
  • A broken plate (for mosaic-ing)
  • A portable DVD player
  • An old record player
  • A pillow and comforter

    Pillow and comforter in their new home

    Pillow and comforter in their new home. Photo courtesy of @avrankin

  • G-Diaper liners
  • Assorted K-cups
  • Old iPhone charger
  • A make-your-own beer kit

Received:

    • A wrought iron decoration for my patio
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Painted by me

      • Fleece-lined leather gloves
      • An unopened jar of yeast for bread machines
      • Two pairs of toddler shoes
      • A toddler bike helmet
      • Teaspoons, knives, and a vegetable peeler
      • A fold up baseball game toy
      • Kids’ hat and gloves
      • A tip that saved me $200 at Home Depot
      • Two batches of homemade cookies

Since I first posted about this project, there is an even better chance that you can find a group near you no matter where you live! And if they don’t have one yet, start one! You can also follow some of the inspiring Buy Nothing stories from around the world on their Facebook page.

Another great way to give and receive free items is through the Yerdle App – you just have to pay for shipping if the pick up isn’t local. Use my link for free “Yerdle Dollars!”

Have you used a Buy Nothing Group or similar in your community?

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June 1st, 2015

How To Use Social Media for Business – Or Social Media 101

socialmedia

Many of my readers might not realize that long before Spit That Out, I started my own eco-conscious public relations firm focused on sustainable brands. Back in 2002, Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations did not begin with a grain of eco-consciousness, but over the years it progressed into a PR firm that only works with sustainable and/or mission-driven businesses.

Focussing more on media relations, I don’t typically take over social media for my clients. Rather, I advise them, hoping they can pick up the skills to manage their own social media (if they can’t, we outsource to some great social media managers). But if one more extremely intelligent, savvy, creative business owner tells me that they “aren’t good at the Internet” or “don’t know how to tweet,” I might scream. If you are able to send me an e-mail, you are more than able to use social media.

So here is a Social Media 101 FAQ, free to use and share! And if you would like more hands-on help with building your brand through media relations, social media, and additional communications tools, please reach out to me for a Coffee Consultation!

1) I have a Facebook account where I wish people “Happy Birthday” and share pictures of my cats. So I’m all set, right?

No. If you have any kind of business, whether it’s selling homemade cat treats or financial advising, you need a Facebook Business Page. A “page” is not the same as a “group” or a “personal page,” and it can be set up in about two minutes.

2) But I heard that people don’t even see Facebook posts anymore so it’s pointless.

Yes, it’s true that Facebook has made it so that unless something you post is so engaging that it goes viral in its own right, you’ll be lucky if 10% of your fans see your post. You still need to post. You can also pay a few bucks to boost posts to specific audiences, which is sometimes useful. And Facebook can be automatically linked to Twitter to create minimal effort on this platform. Here is a helpful post on increasing your Facebook Engagement

3) What’s the point of Twitter?

I have found Twitter to be one of the best ways to engage my business. Those 140 characters can go a long way, especially with so many journalists and business leaders using Twitter as their preferred platform. More on using Twitter for business.

4) How do I get people to follow me on Twitter?

Start by following the people you want to know – journalists, industry insiders and networks, even your competitors. Also follow your ideal consumers, searching around for relevant hashtags (more on that to come). The laziest way to use Twitter is to sync your Facebook and Instagram updates. But DO check in to Twitter directly at least once per day to respond to anyone who messages you or replies to you with an “@.” And make a point of “retweeting” interesting posts. Best of all, send actual replies to the posts that interest you! For example, “@JournalistQ What a great story about apples! Our company is also working to make apples the #1 fruit! Would love to connect”

5) What is a hashtag?

A hashtag, which looks like #, turns any phrase that follows it into a searchable link. Hashtags instantly link your social media post to a group of others with the same topic. As a small business owner, using appropriate hashtags can help drive your brand recognition and boost the reach of your advertising campaigns. You can also create your own hashtag for marketing campaigns, Twitter chats, and more! Learn more about hashtags here.

6) Do I really need to use Instagram?

Yes – especially if you want to reach an audience of teens and 20-somethings, who have all deleted their Facebook accounts because they don’t want their grandmothers to see what they are posting. They are all on Instagram posting selfies. So get ready to start posting and hashtagging some visually engaging content – but know that no matter how hard you try, you will never have more followers than your 14-year-old niece. You can also make your life easier by linking your Instagram posts directly to your Twitter. Currently you can not link your Instagram to your business Facebook page. More on using Instagram for business.

5) What about Pinterest?

You may think your product isn’y visual enough for Pinterest. But just about anything can be turned into a visually engaging pin, even if it’s just illustrating the title of a blog post (see mine above made in three minutes with a free app called PicCollage). And Pinterest is surprisingly important and effective – almost 80% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest! Here is a great post on using Pinterest to grow your business.

6) People I’ve never met keep trying to connect with me on Linked In. What’s up with that?

Well, it could be potentially useful contacts. It could also be realtors and financial advisors sending out blanket new client pitches to everyone in their zip code. Use a bit of discrimination when accepting people so you won’t be flooded with pitches. LinkedIn is a great place to host your “virtual resume” and keep up with your contacts as they change jobs and companies. I am admittedly not as active on this platform as I could be. But I’ve read a lot about its usefulness and creative ways to engage. At the very least, keep your profile current.

7) Seriously, Google+ too?

Eh. Maybe. A few months ago I would have insisted on it because of search engine optimization through Google. But now I hear that Google may be scrapping the platform altogether. If I were you. I’d just claim my business name, update some basic info, and then spend my time elsewhere.

Now that you are all set up, please follow and engage with me!

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May 26th, 2015

The Daily Battle of the Food Warrior Mom

warrior

“It’s just one Oreo.”
“One donut isn’t gonna kill him?”
“Oh, sorry, you guys don’t do sugar?”
“He can have gum, right?”

It’s a typical week and the battle rages on. A relatively healthy, clean diet versus peer pressure and not-making-them-live-in-a-bubble.

As much as we may strive in the quest for dietary perfection at home, the real world is rife with obstacles. It still never ceases to amaze me how most people are completely oblivious to high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, artificial colors and dyes, and generally harmful processed crap. We know about the links to ADHD, diabetes, and even cancer – and we know that half of these ingredients are BANNED outside of the U.S.  But knowing isn’t half the battle – it’s like 10%. And the world is peppered with gummy bears from the dollar store, blue lollipops, and munchkins, munchkins everywhere.

As careful as I am, my strictness pales in comparison to some parents I know. But, in general, I still come off as “that crazy green mom who won’t let her kid have Starbursts.” But, lest you think I am fanatical for not purchasing Cheerios, let me give you a breakdown over an average three days in the life of a food-and-eco-conscious parent.

Day One – Preschool

7 a.m: We make the children organic frozen waffles or the Cascadian Farms organic version of “Life” – and occasionally their still-sugar-heavy organic version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

8:30 a.m: They complain that they are still hungry so they eat Earths Best fruit bars on the walk to school.

10 a.m: Snacktime at school. Sometimes it’s conventional fruit and sometimes it’s a combination of Goldfish and Cheerios. And then there is pretzel day, where they eat massive soft pretzels, leading to:

noon: Lunch. Mostly uneaten, as seen by the remnants of organic peanut butter and jelly, fruit, and random leftovers.

3 p.m: Afternoon snack at school. It’s someone’s birthday because it is always someone’s birthday. And it’s always Munchkins.

4 p.m: We head to the park. I’ve brought some organic fruit snacks and yogurt drops, maybe even a few organic cookies. But Jane’s parents have brought Cheez-Its and Jack’s parents have brought gummy worms. My children no longer like what I have brought and beg to share with their friends. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes I say no.

4:30 p.m: The Mr. Softie truck rolls up to the playground blaring it’s siren song. All the children run to the fence. Some of the kids get ice cream. Mine don’t.

4:45: The Nesquick bunny enters the park with an igloo full of “chocolate drink.” We rapidly head out.

5:30 p.m: We prepare a healthy, mostly organic dinner for ourselves and our two-year-old, Evelyn, who blissfully still eats what we serve her. My five-year-old, Sam, subsists on about six different things (because we have failed.) But we will make damn sure those six things are organic, so Annie’s Mac and Cheese is served.

6 p.m: I prepare homemade fruit and almond milk ice cream in the Vitamix with an unhealthy amount of conventional chocolate chips (because Fresh Direct doesn’t sell the organic ones and Whole Foods is always out). Sam doesn’t want it because he wants real ice cream. He finally gives in and eats what I’ve made. Five minutes later he complains that he is hungry again and eats four pickles, a cheese stick, and an errant Girl Scout cookie bought out of guilt from a friend’s daughter.

Day Two – Saturday

7 a.m: Breakfast

10 a.m: Sam needs to get a haircut, so he is plied with healthyish snacks to prepare him for the 10 minutes of captivity. After the haircut he is offered a small cup of peanut M&Ms by the well-meaning barber and we let him eat them.

noon: A begrudgingly eaten and picked at lunch.

12:30: My parents arrive with their requisite Dunkin Donuts chocolate chip muffins, which are literally dotted with granulated sugar. I have fought with them about this ad nauseum, but I can not win because it “gives them pleasure” to ply my children with crap.

1 p.m: They want to give them Oreos. I say no. We fight. Sam cries.

1:30 p.m: They want to know if they can take him to CVS to pick out some candy. I say no. Sam cries. Evelyn is oblivious.

2 p.m: Commercials for McDonalds, Gatorade, and Frosted Flakes.

4 p.m: We head out for one of the daily neighborhood festivals that make city living so great. I know that this is one of those occasions where we’ll want to splurge on pizza and ice cream with no thought about ingredients, and so we do. But since Sam has already had M&Ms and a giant sugar-covered muffin and possibly other things snuck by my parents, this ice cream cone has put him over the top and he is high strung and freaking out. Evelyn is covered in sprinkles and is chewing on her shoe.

6 p.m: We all go home and eat cereal and grapes.

6:30 p.m: Sam is hungry again.

Day Three – Sunday

7 a.m: Breakfast

9 a.m: Sam and I take the dog for a walk and the dog drags us into the dry cleaners’ where he knows he will get a treat. And Sam knows he will get a small Hershey bar.

10 a.m: The first birthday part of the day. It is at one of the many establishments where it is mandatory to consume their provided cuisine – cardboard pizza and Hi-C. I am forced to go with the flow.

noon: Cake with blue icing.

12:30: The new requisite piñata, pre-filled with candy you can’t even believe still exists like Laffy Taffy. (For a really fun and easy DIY piñata alternative, see here).

2 p.m: Birthday party number two. Same thing, different bounce house.

5 p.m: Dinner. Hahaha!!!

7 p.m: I pick through the goody bags and hope no one will noticed that I’ve thrown away 3 Blow Pops and something that looks like it’s actually bleeding chartreuse.

My children are not sweet-deprived. They aren’t living in some candy-crushed world where they are only permitted to eat things they’ve grown with their bare hands. We are simply trying to do a little bit better, because we know what’s in this stuff.

We know how it effects our children in the short term and we are terrified of how it will effect them in the long term. We would be remiss and frankly, ignorant, to just let all hell break loose in a blaze of red dye and pesticides.

So, please, please, don’t tell me that one Oreo won’t kill my children. Spend a day in the shoes of a parent forced to wage combat in the universal food wars, and you will know that every crumb counts.

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my monthly newsletter. Receive green living news, discounts, giveaways, and events delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

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May 21st, 2015

Drawing Conclusions Book Review and Giveaway

A dumpster-diving heroine?

A solar-powered protagonist?

A champion for the righteous – and the recycled?

It takes a really good book to get me hooked, and it’s wonderful to find a main female character who takes on environmental and ethical crime.

With her A Sketch in Crime Mystery Series, debut novelist Deirdre Verne creates a fascinating protagonist with eco-conscious and sustainable values. Throughout the mystery series, it is freegan artist CeCe Prentice’s self-sufficiency and resourcefulness that drive her crime-solving success.

Throughout the series, eco-conscious writer Verne paints a picture of character whose passion for sustainability has drawn her to an off-grid lifestyle. Whether she is operating a manual washing machine, exploring alternative energy sources, or working on her farmstead, she tackles larger questions of genetic engineering, medical industry ethics, and even freegan versus vegan lifestyle choices.

Drawing Conclusions

In Drawing Conclusions, CeCe spends her days dumpster diving for sustenance and sketching intricate details from the faces around her, while her father and twin brother Teddy work in a genetics laboratory. Despite her disdain for consumerism, CeCe has maintained a close relationship with her brother, and is shocked and devastated by his untimely murder. She has scarcely begun to process the news when attempts are made on her own life. Now it’s up to CeCe to draw on her skills as a sketch artist to help the authorities catch the killer—before it’s too late.

Now that I know who the criminals are in the first book, I can’t wait to see her take on crimes at a recycling center and an energy facility in the follow-ups!

Enter to win a copy of Drawing Conclusions

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a samples of this product for review and have a monetary relationship with this brand. Regardless, my opinions are honest. See my full disclosure here. 

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my monthly newsletter. Receive green living news, discounts, giveaways, and events delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

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May 19th, 2015

Goddess Garden Safe Sunscreen Review

This post is sponsored by Green Sisterhood but the opinion is of my own.

Sun protection is no joke – especially when you have a paler than pale 5-year-old and a hairless dog. That’s right – even my American Hairless Terrier needs protection for his favorite activity – laying in the sun.

Hairless Dog + Pale Boy = Sunscreen Love

Hairless Dog + Pale Boy = Sunscreen Love

But chemical sunscreens can be just as troublesome as unprotected sun exposure. Studies have shown that many of these chemicals have adverse effects on the human body and on the environment. The chemicals in conventional sunscreens are absorbed into the body, and, according to the Environmental Working Group, the common chemical sunscreens have varying levels of toxicity. Endocrine disrupting chemical sunscreens including Oxybenzone have been increasingly linked to early puberty in girls, low sperm count and male infertility, and an increase in hormone-related cancers in both men and women. The chemical has been shown to mimic and alter reproductive hormones and is linked to endometriosis.

Add to that the fragrance found in conventional sunscreens, a compound of hundreds of chemicals, many of which are parabens and phthalates, which have been shown to be toxic to reproductive and organ systems.

I’ve tried a wide variety of natural mineral sunscreens over the years, and it’s often a struggle with thick white creams that leave you looking like you’ve been dipped in paint. So ever since I discovered safe sunscreen Goddess Garden a few years ago, I have not stopped raving and recommending it to friends.

In 2004, Nova Covington created her first “Goddess Garden” product for her daughter Paige (cool name!), the inspiration for Goddess Garden. As an infant, Paige was allergic to most body care products because of her sensitive skin. Nova soon discovered that most body care products contain hundreds of questionable chemicals. Without any effective, natural alternatives available, Nova began to formulate a line of safe and sensitive products that she felt confident using on her daughters. Now, Goddess Garden has become the fastest growing natural sunscreen brand in the U.S.

All of Goddess Garden’s products are certified organic, using only zinc and titanium as active ingredients. And best of all, they offer the only all mineral sunscreen in a continuous spray! And Goddess Garden goes on sheer making it a pleasure to apply.

Seriously Safe Spray!

Seriously Safe Spray!

Here are some more cool things to know about Goddess Garden:

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Giveaway​­: Goddess Garden is giving away 1 Oz Everyday Sunscreen tubes to the first 100 people and 500 sample sachets thereafter. Offer is good while supply last.

Free Sunscreen

Readers can also use the discount code #SunSafeGoddess for 20% off online, good from May 19th through July 30th!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Green Sisterhood. I received samples of these products for review. Regardless, my opinions are honest. See my full disclosure here. 

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May 11th, 2015

The Mommy Greenest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, & Beyond

What’s the number one way to wake someone up to all the issues Americans face with lead in lipstick, artificial dyes in foods, and flame retardants in car seats?

Get them pregnant.

That’s what sent me on the information spiral that lead to this book and blog. And it’s what prompted my dear friend Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff to write The Mommy Greenest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

Rachel’s book come with the support of her friends at Naturepedic mattresses (no pun intended), a natural mattress company I’ve talked about before, leading the innovation on safe sleep.

The easy and quick read includes the lowdown on everything from the best way to filter water and paint the nursery to pregnancy sex. And the best part – it’s completely free for download online.

Just another wonderful read to make green living more manageable, practical, and affordable!

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