Archive | 2010

Time To Detox – Miessence Can Help

What is your chemical exposure like within your home?  The easier areas for myself have been kitchen and cleaning products to de-tox. A little harder and more intimidating is your personal hygiene because there is so much false information with marketing and green washing within the beauty industry. If you want to detox your bathroom, beauty products, shampoo, facial wash, right down to deodorant and shampoo, check out Miessence. The one-stop shopping experience at the Miessence site makes finding your ‘must have’ products easy, whether it be all natural deodorant, hair products, makeup, etc. It will also be a little more affordable with the 20% discount Miessence is offering on the entire site until November 29th.  Use the code ‘elyo20’ at checkout and save money!  The Miessence products would make awesome stocking stuffers or gifts for loved ones. I noticed there is even hair gel!  I know an 8 year old boy in this house that would love some gel that is truly void of chemicals (do you know how hard it is to find gel, deodorants, shampoo all on one site??!)

Why Miessence in the world of organics? For me, I have two criteria besides the actual products themselves (which in this case I have tested): how knowledgeable are the people selling it and how does it rate with the experts?  In the vast world of social media which I’m fairy entrenched, some of the top advocates for human health are Miessence representatives. Erin Ely from Miessence is always reaching out to support the topics of how to improve health and the environment and is a trusted source for me with questions regarding personal care products. This is actually very important when purchasing products that you are ingesting, inhaling, & rubbing on your skin and hair. Also, the trusted folks at EWG have given the entire line of Miessence products a very solid rating across the board.  I have also been testing the lemon shampoo, conditioner, and facial cleanser for the past month and I’m very happy with the results. My skin just loves the daily cleanser..it is incredible.

Why should you be using organic makeup and personal hygiene products?  It is vital to reduce our chemical exposure. In my opinion, it’s our daily intake of household toxins that  has boosted the numbers of prostate and breast cancer and why so many suffer from infertility and more terrible health problems. From the food that we eat, to the plastic that seems to encase everything we purchase, to the chemicals and perfumes that we ingest and inhale…our chemical exposure has never been so high. I am hopeful that the small changes I make on a daily basis help my own family’s health and that is why I share these recommendations with you. It’s why 3 months ago I completely stopped using all products and adopted the ‘no poo‘ strategy to my beauty regime but I realize washing your hair with vinegar and baking soda can sound a little extreme to most people. This is where Miessence can help – you can replace the bulk of your bathroom’s personal care products easily and in one place. I haven’t worn deodorant in years and I rarely wear make-up , but in this world, those decisions are not realistic for people that go to work outside the home or still enjoy a daily beauty regime. This is why I’m writing about Miessence – it is a great fit for anyone, regardless of the degree of ‘green’ a person chooses to go with beauty.

My favourite Miessence product has been the facial cleanser. Skin care is something that is much harder to remedy with a home-made recipe so it’s been wonderful to use this silky soft cleanser and know that it’s good for my skin. I think with Christmas coming, it’s also the one area that women will splurge and will add to their own list to Santa. Safe and organic moisturizer for your skin is also a wonderful treat, a great product to add to the everyday items like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and deodorant.

So treat yourself to better health this year and pickup some Miessence products. The research is there – limiting your chemical exposure is important and it doesn’t need to be difficult.  One more thing you can tick off the Santa list.

I wanted to mention a new campaign that’s started on Facebook helping consumers by calling out companies that ‘pink wash’. This term is similar to green washing (telling consumers a product is eco-friendly when it’s not) as pink washing is a label on companies that market proceeds from their sales that are donated to breast cancer research (if they money actually reaches the cancer societies), while doing nothing to remove the chemicals from within their product that actually cause cancer!  If you would like more information on this Facebook fan page, click here or search Pinkwashing Hall of Shame on Facebook.

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Greener Holidays & Eliminating PVC Under The Tree

Hello!  I’ve been away for ages and miss writing terribly so I’m thrilled to be covering a few different issues on my mind: greener ways to wrap gifts, the annual ‘fake or real’ Christmas tree debate, and Toys R Us and toxic toys. Much of my time in the last 2 months has gone to sourcing for my on-line store Green Planet Parties. I wanted to find items that were very green and practical…items that are truly unique, truly green, and still whisper Christmas when you see them. What do you think about gift bags, gift wrap, gift tags, and cards that are seeded with wild flower seeds so they can be planted once they start to tear?  Sounds kinda cool right?  I thought so – I’m very proud of the category called ‘Christmas Wrapped Up‘ and the products listed here are either plantable or reusable. Not only are the plantable items magical, but the reusable cloth santa sacks, Furochic wrap, fabric gift tags, and wooden clothespin reusable/vintage vibe items looking great!  If you are like me, I cringe when I wrap presents for people or even when I reuse traditional gift bags because there is a strange odor from them.  It’s not my imagination..I’m convinced they are coated with something toxic. I know I should be using newspaper or craft paper, but sometimes (especially around the holidays) you want unique and seasonal presentation with gifts.  Enter plantable gift bags or wrap and cloth Santa Sacks – these products are truly green and will remove any guilt with wrapping your gift and leave you singing Fa La La La La the entire time!

My next holiday themed topic is the annual debate of ‘fake vs. real’ Christmas trees. Which one is truly kinder to the environment? Some people say that reusing a fake tree is a better choice because you’re not cutting down young trees each year.  Others will argue that trees grown specifically for Christmas season is a better choice for the environment. I haven’t felt qualified to cover this topic in recent years but I’m ready to voice my opinion and let me start by saying we’ve used a fake tree for close to 6 years and I always felt a little smug because the thought of cutting down baby trees made me sad.  But – then I learned that all fake Christmas trees are produced from PVC.  This is the plastic (#3) that is called poison plastic.  You just need to understand that after you purchase a fake tree it will never leave the earth in an environmentally kind way.  Never. It’s taken me years to fully understand that a fake Christmas tree releases toxic dioxins into the air, into our bodies from the time the plastic is produced with making it, after you purchase it (the reason it smells) and there isn’t a way to effectively dispose of the tree. If you burn it – more dioxins are released, it cannot be recycled, so it will continue to exist when discarded for a very long time. The issue of PVC isn’t only about it’s harm to the environment, but also human heath.  Please note that I’m not suggesting anyone with a fake Christmas tree throw it away.  When something is functional, it should be reused as much as possible.  This information is for people struggling with the decision of “should I purchase a fake tree this year”?  When I purchased my fake tree, I had no idea what it was made from. Now I can make an educated decision on my tree this year, but it won’t involve throwing out a fake tree if it’s still usable.  Would I ever purchase another one?  Definitely not.

A new trend last year were little tree companies that will bring you a potted tree to use over the holidays, then it’s returned to the nursery or transplanted. It is easy to find they companies using Google but I warn you, this option is wonderful and very eco-friendly, but it’s expensive. Could you not purchase a potted tree on your own for less money I wonder?

Or – a very sustainable option exists out of Chicago.  The price of this tree is the equivalent to an expensive fake tree – but it’s lovely and hand made, and I want one all for myself to decorate with acorn ornaments.  This picture is from the talented Forestry Handmade site… get ready to swoon.

Now that I’ve softened you up with wonderful relaxing photos of handcrafted Christmas trees, I have some hard facts about toys and PVC. I have drafted so many articles that I’ve never published because they are full rants about Hasbro, Disney, Barbie, Toys R Us, and many more companies that produce and sell plastic toys because of my frustration that they can’t keep the issue of ‘safe plastic’ a priority for our children’s health. I’m going to try and remove all the personal conflict I feel about plastic toys aside (I’ve ranted along these lines before) and stick to the facts that CHEJ outlined this week on a new site they’ve launched called Toxic Toys R Us. This is a project run by consumer advocates looking to inform consumers about the sale of PVC-contaminated toys at Toys R Us. The hard facts are that although Toys R Us promised to remove PVC plastic, phthalates, and lead from toys they sell back in 2008 but tests have shown that toys they sell still contain PVC and no amount of labelling from the large toy manufacturers will help parents to understand if they are truly safe.  I cannot wait for their Toxic Toys R Us 2010 Report…I wish it was already out. And it’s only Toys R Us that’s been called out on the issue of PVC and toys.. . and we should be aware that all other big box stores carry the same products, the same toys, with the same set of standards.  Again, what is the problem for a toy made from PVC to land under the tree Christmas morning?  The same problems that I outlined with the fake Christmas tree are true for toys.  I wonder if this is the Christmas that as parents (myself included) wake up and realize the damage plastic has done.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I have very mixed feeling about Christmas and it’s wonderful that I can purge my feelings and perhaps help others who might be confused about different choices we can make this holiday season.

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Boo! Halloween Activity For Older Crowd

One thing about having children – they really help you ‘up’ your parenting game with their honest critic of the job you’re doing. With only a few days before our annual Halloween party my oldest son asks me if we’re ‘only’ doing the magic potions because, “they are for little kids”. I choked and sputtered on my beverage because his 8 year old buddies have actually asked me “are you doing magic potions again this year?” … with hope in their eyes. But with trying to keep it fresh…I’ve been researching something for the older crowd.

BTW – click on this link to get a description of the magic potions we do every year at the party. Don’t listen to my big boy – kids of ALL ages love them! Halloween Magic Potion Fun

So I remembered seeing pictures of specimen jars last year on various sites and they look perfect for the older crowd. A little gross (perfect for the over 6 year old crowd) but they are inexpensive and you can get very creative. For inspiration, I’ve been following The Craft Junkie and their post on Mad Scientist Specimen Jars have been amazing! My favorites are the skeleton hands, prisoner’s brain (extra love for the Harry Potter reference with labelling the jar from Azkaban), and floating werewolf eye balls. Included in The Craft Junkie blog are the printable labels for specimen jars which will save you time in the creative department. All of their specimen jars are fabulous and great for decorations but to turn this into a craft to keep kids busy for 5 minutes…I’m combining ingredients for mine. The below picture is from The Craft Junkie site – I wish mine looked like this!

Before you start specimen jars you need to think back to your preschool days and ask “will it float?” You don’t want a combination of things that all float – although I do love the werewolf eyeball jar. For our party specimen jars I’m using:

~ Avalon glass milk jars with colored water (green and yellow). Green looks great if items float to the top and yellow for body part jars you want to see through the jar.
~ Canning jars
~ Cauliflower brains
~ Gooey eyeballs
~ Paper clips and celery cut into 1 inch strips
~ Cooked spaghetti

Firstly, my mom had 20 odd mason jars (canning glass jars) not being used that she donated so that was a huge help with getting this craft ‘party ready’. I’m using empty Avalon milk jars for kids to pour the colored liquid because they match the theme perfectly with their shape. They are glass – but hey – I think the kids can handle it. We played with different recipes for an hour today and found the best combo was to get the brain at the bottom of the jar. If you are using a plastic/rubber brain that stores sell – you’ll need to weigh it down so it reaches the bottom of the jar. Hook a paperclip through it and hook the other end of the paper clip through some celery to weigh it down. If you are using cauliflower – these will automatically sink to the bottom of the jar. Next we added an eyeball, then intestines on top (spaghetti). We poured yellow liquid into the jar and it’s complete. Now to print off the label from The Craft Junkie and we’re done!

I did try using a technique of pouring clear shampoo into a jar then adding an old plastic animal toy so it would look suspended but didn’t have any luck at all. I’m really not the crafty type – but I do love to use my imagination with thinking of gross Halloween parts for activities. My twin girls really got into the fun this year too. Will post pictures on the Mommy Footprint fan page of the best looking jars!

Happy Halloween! Enjoy this fun time of year!!

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Bogs Boots: Natural Rubber For All Elements

My first thoughts of getting out my kid’s rain boots is prompted by wonderful Fall activities: pumpkin patches, corn maze, and farm visits. This year my oldest son didn’t have rain or snow boots because of a big growth spurt so thankfully the timing was perfect when I recently heard about Bogs Footwear. Just the thought of going into the rain boot section of a big box store brings on a migraine with the stench of cheap plastic so after checking out the Bogs site and finding out the boot is actually made from natural rubber instead of PVC – I knew we’d be a great match. This isn’t the only eco-feature of these boots. They are made from natural rubber, neoprene, and with superior quality guaranteed to not crack or split like cheaply made boots. They are also heavy duty for winter (thinking ahead with snow action) because they are comfort rated from temperate conditions down to -20 degrees F. Because they are made with breathable materials, rather than PVC, they are comfortable in milder weather too – all the while looking incredibly hip too! The spider style was my favorite model for boys, although I stuck with the classic black for my 8 year old because I’m hoping for a few years of wear from these boots. Bogs footwear has made the kiddie styles so adorable for little girls and very cool for boys.  It’s pretty rare when a boot that could be used for extreme outdoor weather conditions is so stylish.   Kids also love the handles that they grab to easily pull on the boots in these waterproof rubber and neoprene upper. The Bogs Classic High Kids is the style Francesco is wearing and he loves them.

When you’ve been around the block with kid’s products – there are a few items that scream “you get what you paid for!” Footwear is one thing a parent learns to invest and research their time. I recommend purchasing Bogs boots a little big (if your child is a half size…got up to the next size) since they can always wear thick socks until the next year. These boots have some serious non-slip soles and it would take a lot to wear them out. When you add the cost of what two pairs of boots would cost for rain and snow, plus the fact these are made without PVC – the price is great!  I’ve found Bogs online around the $60 mark, which is not a bad price for 2-in-1 boots for Fall and Winter.

And moms…don’t drift over to the Women’s category of the Bogs site unless you’ve got some extra time and a bib to catch the drool. Who knew that outdoor sport boots could be so cute, fashionable, and easy! With a pair of jeans or tights – you’ll be rockin that pumpkin patch or just looking generally ‘cute’ for everyday footwear this Fall and Winter. Footwear doesn’t easily tempt me but I couldn’t resist getting a pair of Bogs for myself. My style of boots is the classic high handles with a fun print on the boot. I love them and can’t wait for the weather to get chilly so I can slip them on more often. Never mind for kids… I love how easy they are to get into . =)

Enjoy the weather change from chilly summer to glorious fall days and soak up all that nature has to offer during the month of October. This mild weather won’t be here for long and the pumpkins and hay rides keep calling our name. Get outside and enjoy.

Follow Bogs Footwear on Twitter @BogsFootwear or Facebook Fan Page by liking here. You can even enter yourself in their ‘Make A Mess’ contest – see their Fanpage for more information.

Related Articles:

Safe, Fun, & Easy Pumpkin Crafts For Kids

PVC Info

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Eco-Cleaning Made Easy

Have you thought about switching over your traditional cleaning products but find it overwhelming thinking about cost and confused by the number of ‘eco cleaning products’ on the market? If you are still using Windex spray and traditional chemical cleaning agents for your bathroom, kitchen, floors, etc., put them away in a big box, high up where little hands can’t reach them and replace with very few products. The total cost can be under $20…in addition to pantry items that help like baking soda, olive oil, and vinegar. You will notice immediate improvements with your health from removing products that off-gas with ‘cleaning’ chemicals and fragrances.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castile Soap

I can’t say it enough how much I love this brand. They’ve been around forever, USDA certified organic, making fair trade and wonderful organic products for 60 years.  I’ve used their classic liquid soap for a few years now – my favorite is the Peppermint Liquid Soap because the scent is like you’ve cleaned with candy canes. <smile> There are so many uses for Dr. Bronner’s soaps but it’s been a life saver for me with replacing all of my store bought traditional cleaning supplies. I use it in the bathroom, kitchen, floors (even hard wood), and to dust with (diluted in water). The price tag for this product is on the higher end in the greener stores but if you’re eliminating all other products…it’s so worth it.

The combination of ingredients from Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap are organic extra virgin coconut, organic olive, jojoba and hemp oils, with pure essential oils. Doesn’t that sound lovely to inhale and ingest while you’re cleaning rather than toxic fumes? The essential oils added to the liquid soaps are for those that still enjoy scent associated with cleaning – without the headaches that a chemical fragrance will give. You will also notice that their isn’t the action of foaming or bubbles because it doesn’t contain synthetic foaming agents. From an environmental standpoint, Dr. Bronner’s is fantastic because they are completely biodegradable and vegetable-based. So not only will you enjoy better health for your family, but the environment will also be improved from you making this switch.

Microfiber Cloths

Norwex isn’t the only company that sells microfiber cloths, but with the number of Nowex representatives in most communities, it’s easy to find someone selling these products. I was introduced to Norwex over 2 years ago by my friend Michelle and I was the mom at the meeting asking “But HOW does it clean?”  I didn’t get it. The idea that a microfiber cloth + water will clean your house is hard to wrap your mind around at first. But once you try the cloths – there’s not going back. The silver agent in the cloths traps the bacteria and dirt and these cloths will last literally years. I clean my walls, kitchen, bathroom, countertops with a dab of Dr. Bronner’s and my microfiber cloth. For my windows I use water and the microfiber window cloth (Norwex brand too).  I can’t imagine using Windex to clean glass or my windows – the thought literally makes me sick.

Norwex and Nanoparticles

I have written about Norwex products a few times, but recently did some investigation about Norwex and their rumoured link to nanoparticles after being asked by a friend about the products. I always want to write in full disclosure when recommending a company or product. I could not find anything linking Norwex to Nanoparticles. I saw a few articles from respected sites questioning if the two are related because of the antibacterial properties within the cloths. Here is the article from the Treehugger forum and an interview with Adria Vasil author of Ecoholic. Norwex has publicly stated that their products use micro-silver technology rather than nano-silver and that cloths do not leach silver while being used.

I also agree with the mind-set that while the technology is still widely untested (the world of nano-particles and micro) – I appreciate the fact I’ve been using a reusable product that has saved me money and my health with eliminating traditional cleaning products containing chemicals.

Baking Soda

I can’t believe how much baking soda I use on a daily basis. In additional to freshening up my laundry with a sprinkle, I use on tough-to-clean stains, sprinkle on my carpet before vacuuming, make paste to clean my oven, and over the last few month…I’ve been using it to wash my hair. Baking soda is such an effective odor removing product – it’s a great arsenal with household cleaning products.

Vinegar

Vinegar is great for everyday cleaning. Household cleaning recipes that contain vinegar have been around forever and the list of vinegar solutions continues to grow every year. My favorite uses for white vinegar is to kill weeds along my driveway (fill up a spray bottle and let the kids have fun), fixing CDs or DVDs when they’ve started to skip (wet a rag with vinegar and wipe the CD and dry), along with baking soda to unclog drains, and a natural fabric softener.

Olive Oil

The only way to clean stainless steel, pour olive oil on a paper towel or rag and wipe along the grain of your stainless steel appliances. This is the most effective way I’ve found to clean stainless steel. It’s not cheap, since olive oil is rather expensive, but the results are fabulous and you are polishing without chemicals.

Related Articles:

Home Made & Eco Friendly Cleaning Solutions

Self Cleaning Oven – Toxic for Humans or Only Birds?

Home-Made & Natural Home Air Fresheners

No Poo Anyone?

Tips to Improve Carpet Health

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