Archive | September, 2009

Natural Elegance From Etsy

The call to Etsy is strong and when I reach the homepage I can see why. My eye immediately noticed these organic designs that are so incredibly beautiful ~ they are truly a mixture of clothing and art.  The shop called Zelaya is brimming with natural and biodegradable fabrics and designs unlike anything I’ve seen. ‘Naturally elegant’ is the perfect word combination to describe…

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Isn’t it stunning? The natural selection of flowers floating down the front is so delicate and elegant.  Here’s more:

zelaya pink top

Thank you for existing Etsy.  Your handmade pieces and stores continue to inspire and nourish creativity in us all. And to the artist over at Zelaya who crafted these gorgeous organic collections – wow!  I’m in awe of your talent!

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Heal and Hydrate with Certified Organic Seaflora Skincare

I love a good story. The best stories come from companies that are closing the loop by producing environmentally safe and effective products without chemicals or damage to human health. Enter the main character of this story…Diane Bernard who is also known internationally as ‘the seaweed lady”.  Diane’s story came to me while visiting The Grotto Spa this summer when I learned of ‘the seaweed lady’ a special environmentalist that lives on BC’s West Coast that harvests seaweed and has produced a one-of-a-kind certified organic skincare line called Seaflora.  It is unique because Diane hand harvests the main ingredient <seaweed> and with her method of using clean cuts there is no damage to the reproductive parts of the seaweed so it continues to grow and flourish. Diane’s ocean ‘garden’ of 250 assorted species of seaweed reflect her strong commitment to sustainable marine environments. Her harvesting techniques and the wild seaweed is 100% USDA and OCIA certified organic.  The story only gets better because the Seaflora skincare line is packed with vitamins and minerals – you don’t need to worry about toxic ingredients that pollute so many products in the beauty industry today. Diane knew the health benefits of using wild seaweed as the Seaflora core ingredient as it’s been known for centuries to heal and hydrate skin. The surprising twist in this story is how sustainable and fast growing seaweed is in nature – making it a wonderful and truly organic ingredient in a skincare line.

An example of the sustainable nature of seaweed is bull kelp. It is the fastest growing plant on the planet. It can grow three to four feet a day during peak time and 120 feet in a season. The beauty industry needs to harness this amazing resource much like the clothing and bedding industry did with bamboo last year.  Diane’s example of how to cultivate and harvest her ingredients with such environmental integrity is amazing with it’s authentic purpose from start to finish.  Picture below from the Seaflora site of Diane pulling bull kelp along the beach.

diane pulling bull kelp

For a consumer, the certified organic line Seaflora is simply wonderful. I’ve been trying this line for months and love the ‘glow’ my skin has after using the mud mask. You can feel the difference between a paraben, phthalate, and formaldehyde -free product because your skin is instantly moisturized and clean without the slippery feeling afterwards. My favorite Sea Flora products are Iridaea exfoliator which is a facial masque combined with ocean mud that makes my skin feel amazing and Laminaria Body Lotionfor the eczema patches on my ankles.  The Seaflora facial cleanser line contains certified organic seaweeds, Vitamins A, C, and E to cleanse skin.   Did you know that wild seaweeds contain anti-septic and healing properties?  So many products in the Seaflora line are recommended for rosacea, eczema, sensitive skin types. 

For woman trying to conceive or already pregnant – the Sea Flora line is an amazing organic solution to avoid synthetic chemicals that effect developing babies.  Seaflora contains no artificial colours or fragrances, GM ingredients, dioxins, petrochemicals, mineral oils, parabens, imidazolidinyl urea, propylene glycol, hexane, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, aluminium or animal derived ingredients. Seaflora skincare is perfect for people committed to an organic lifestyle and looking for a truly natural way to rejuvenate and sooth their skin. The line is certified organic in both the US and Canada and this is not as common as you might think. Diane warns that consumers need to be careful as skincare lines claim to be organic or natural can still contain petrochemical, synthetic, and other harmful ingredients. You need to look for USDA or OCIA seals for your assurance before purchasing organic skincare.

You can find Seaflora available to purchase in many high-end spas across North America or visit the Seaflora store and discover a new way to pamper yourself …sadly without the spa, but happily without the toxic ingredients.

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Little Inkers – Growing PVC & Phthalate Free Kids

I’ve recently discovered a company that seemed to connect lots of little dots similar to my own journey of trying to reduce the amount of PVC and Phthalates that surround my family.  That unique company is called Little Inkers Alternative Naturals and they are so much more than a company that makes t-shirts ~ although they have managed to produce some of the most adorable t-shirts ever (!).  Little Inkers concept is so much deeper and the founder Airiane has shared similar light bulb moments that have launched her to produce amazing and sustainable clothing.

Little Inkers 
founder Airiane was a mom doing everything right; proud supporter of breast feeding, making organic baby food, avoiding painted toys because of lead, plastics, so when her son was born with vanishing testicle syndrome she began to research what could have caused this.  After watching the CBC documentary The Disappearing Male, she was dismayed to think his exposure to PVC and Phthalates could have attributed to this syndrome. What could have caused her son to have exposure to these chemicals/types of plastic that is known to cause testicular problems?  Inks.  Airiane’s partner had been working in production print shops using a type of ink called Plastisol ink for years.  After watching The Disappearing Male and spending countless hours researching male genital birth defects, the founder of Little Inkers was led to believe there’s a link between her partner printing with the Plastisol inks containing PVC/Phthalates and her son’s birth defects.  Read more of Airiane’s story via her blog.

Have you ever thought about PVC and Phthalates existing in our clothing?  In your children’s clothing?  I certainly hadn’t so I find the Little Inkers concept, mission, and final product very inspiring. They make their garments from sustainable fibers (bamboo, organic cotton, and soon to arrive ~ hemp) and each piece is hand printed using inks free from PVC and Phthalates.  This conception and story of this company is inspiring – but the  finished product can only be described as cool!  Check out a few of my favorite designs. The tree lungs print is awesome and a cool way to make a statement for kids of any age – adults included!

tree lungs

mama milk  booby

Little Inkers has recently moved to manufacturing their own garments in Canada and hand prints them in their own custom screen-printing company called Greenprint Studio.  Their Greenprint company only prints with inks that are free from PVC and Phthalates as well as soy and orange oil processing products.  The evolution of the children’s line Little Inkers Alternative Naturals fills a niche in the infant and children’s market by offering natural clothing printed with cute slogans promoting breastfeeding, attachment parenting, homeschooling, gay parenting, and political awareness. 

I really appreciate the time Airiane spent with back and forth emails sharing how you can find out if the clothes your purchase for your children contain PVC or phthalates.  First you can ask questions and although it’s a very frustrating undertaking to ask the clerk at Zellers, Walmart, GAP, Old Navy, etc. if their clothing (or any merchandise) is free of PVC and phthalates ~ it is important.  From my experience of never having a clerk able to answer my questions about stainless steel quality with water bottles in these stores ~ I can tell you that employees are simply not given this level of information. I’m sure the president of these stores cannot answer these questions! So what are some other clues to look for?  Price is a big one because safer dyes and inks cost more for printing and we know that bamboo and organic textiles are more expensive. Plastic patches or appliques, sparkle decals, and team numbers, etc. can often contain PVC and phthalates.  Where is the clothing made?  If it’s produced in Europe their laws about PVC and phthalates are much more strict than other countries so this is a good sign. I know I’ve given more than one employee a very large headache when leaving their store, but the more customers asking these questions, more will filter to store managers and owners.  If the public starts demanding safer products for our children that is PVC and Phthalate free, supply and demand will increase, inevitably driving every-one’s cost down.

I am very excited to have found Little Inkers and am inspired by their personal journey that has evolved into this special company. Finding their store has given me more knowledge and forced me to think (again!) about things that are touching my children. Since first looking at their site a few months ago, I’ve stopped dressing my kids in clothes and shoes that have plastic appliques, thinking about what is on their clothes and touching their skin.  I will start asking more questions and demanding more from the stores I frequent. I will also continue to feel good about my choices to not buy cheaply made clothing and think more about how and where it’s being manufactured and produced. Purchasing special items that have been so thoroughly researched and created deserves my business and I appreciate the research and emotion behind the Little Inkers brand. If you are interested in purchasing a onsie in the Little Inkers designs you can visit Grass Roots online or for t-shirts, yoga pant inquires of any size or design, simply contact the Little Inkers site and find out how to order.

Related Articles: Phthalates & BPA Chemicals ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Part II ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

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Family Book ~ For Vancouver Area Moms

It’s not often I write about a local attraction only for parents in Greater Vancouver (the reason for 2 posts today) but with the marathon moms have been on the past week, there’s a wonderful opportunity for Vancouver moms to relax with a fabulous night out.  It’s the 2nd annual Mom’s Night Out, this Friday, September 18th at Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street.  Doors open at 6:00 and mommies can hang out until 11:00. The Family Book hosted this evening last year to celebrate their new edition of The Family Book (now in it’s third year) and provides a great opportunity to stroll around with wine appies, makeovers, live music and more, all while browsing local merchants featured in the Family Book for free.  You must register online for free admission by going to www.thefamilybook.com and clicking on Moms Night Out!

The Family Book hits stores this September and the Moms Night Out is the kick-off to this coupon book which offers discounts that the entire family can use (mainly maternity, baby, kids, early teens and parents).  It has deals and savings worth more than $3000 in the Greater Vancouver Area and Fraser Valley area.  A beautiful feature is the online coupons they offer – how easy and convenient!  This inexpensively priced book has become a bit of a ‘must have’ in the Greater Vancouver area for parents looking for a way to save money, but still support their own community.

moms-night-out-09

 

The 2 Suzanne’s from Green Planet Parties will be at the Mom’s Night Out this Friday night – we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to chat with local moms and check out what’s new and hip in the world of moms and family. In fact – we’ve got a little corner of fun for ourselves to showcase our new line of back-to-school and Halloween items.  So if you decide to come down and take in a little girlfriend time, please stop by and say hi!

For further information on ‘Moms Night Out’ or the Family Book, check out their website at www.thefamilybook.ca.  The Family Book 09/10 edition will be available for sale at the door for only $10 and you can use the coupons at the Mom’s Night Out event.

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Back-To-School Again…

Again it’s time. Back to school really shouldn’t be this big deal but I get sad a week before school starts. I have everything ready ~ stainless steel tiffins, stainless steel water bottles, school supplies (as green as I can get them), and the same old backpack because I can’t find a cooler version that isn’t make with PVC. So what’s my problem? I’m ready, the kids are ready, only…I’m really not ready. How do you get ready for mornings that are filled stress, last minute running around, and more stress? I often tell people that I will never have a heart attack because if a morning of getting 4 kids fed, dressed, and organized to be out the door by 8:30 in the morning doesn’t do it – nothing will.

This Fall, my goal is to remember to breathe.  I had a magical moment with one of my sons early this summer when we visited a local ski mountain and rode the chair lift to the highest peak of the mountain. As we were riding up and feeling like we had wings, I looked over at Angelo who is starting Kindergarten this year and told him “when you miss me next year, just close your eyes and remember our chair lift ride”. Well thanks to an awesome summer, I have lots of truly magical memories that I can close my eyes and remember.   

I encourage all moms to try and remember to breathe this September with back to school.  I will be doing the same and thinking about my summer filled with beaches and swings. A day did not pass this summer without one of my children digging for crabs at the beach or asking for under-ducks on swings.  In fact, one of my kids pointed out that they love the swing so much because they get undivided, 1-1 time with the person pushing them.  So if your child asks you to push them on a swing, consider it a huge compliment. . . could be they want you to hear everything they say without any interruptions or distractions. 

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