July 31, 2012

Naturally Decaffeinated Organic Liquid Green Tea: Make Hot or Cold

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I had never heard of liquid tea before receiving our samples from Sereni Green Tea, Organic. What I like about this tea is how easy it is to make a glass of iced tea on a hot day without having to first brew it with hot water.

SereniTea is organically grown free from pesticides in the pristine Wuyi Rock Mountains of China, the Natural Reserve area where the flavor of tea is dramatically affected by climate, soil conditions and the care used in its processing.The Wuyi Mountains is in Fujian province of China. Mt. Wu-Yi is one of the most popular mountains in the Wuyi mountain region which in total covers an area of approximately 70 square kilometers. This pristine area has the perfect climate for tea cultivation and is known to produce some of the most pristine organic tea due to height of the farms in the region.

In addition to the unsweetened green tea, we were sent a sample of Organic Green Tea - Sweetened Lemon Decaf. Unfortunately, it uses sucralose as a sweetener in order to maintain zero calories. Sucralose is an artificial, chemical sweetener.

It really angers me when companies place artificial ingredients in their organic products. Most consumers see the USDA organic label and assume the products are all natural.

Another concern is the use of spring water from China. I am sure it is filtered, but I don't like to drink water from around the globe. Of course, how else would you make a liquid tea but with water.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 30, 2012

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner: Use the Power of Thyme!

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I just discovered a new cleaning product that I love! Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner, Lemongrass & Thyme kills 99% of germs. I have used hand sanitizers that feature thyme. This is the first household cleaner I have found that uses the same disinfecting properties of this herb:


  • Kills 99.99% of household germs botanically

  • Effective against Influenza A virus including H1N1 and Rhinovirus, the Common Cold virus

  • Streak-free spray for easy cleaning

  • Deodorizes and effectively controls odors

  • EPA registered

  • No rinsing or wiping is required

  • CleanWell Inside™


This cleaner smells really lovely, and like many Americans, I do take comfort in the word "disinfecting" on the label.  It is perfect for all areas of the house, not just the bathroom.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 27, 2012

Aww Lord, I Could Eat a Bowl of Cherries: Putumayo Kids Picnic Playground

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Putumayo World Music is known for their eclectic collections. Picnic Playground is a wonderful collection of children's songs about food from around the planet:

Picnic Playground provides a veritable feast of international songs about food, cooking and healthy eating in a global gumbo of musical styles and languages. American artist Jay Mankita's opening song "Eat Like a Rainbow" sets the tone for the album, and the delectable songs that follow from Australia, Cuba, Denmark, France, Germany, Canada and Trinidad add to the exuberant musical smörgåsbord.These fun, upbeat songs will help get kids moving and dancing to the rhythms. The artists on Picnic Playground sing so joyously about delicious food that you can almost taste it. Try Jose Conde's wonderful "Bolitas de Arroz con Pollo," chomp your way through Rhythm Child's "Bowl of Cherries" and taste the tropical flavors of Asheba's Caribbean "Ice Cream." Before you go, finish off the picnic with milk and cookies, courtesy of Donikkl's song "Milch" and Maggie G's "Let's Bake Cookies".

Picnic Playground includes liner notes in three languages, English, French and Spanish, a child-friendly overview of the foods mentioned in the songs, as well as two recipes showing how to "Eat Like A Rainbow" by child nutritionist Barbara Storper, founder of FoodPlay. A portion of Putumayo's proceeds from the sale of Picnic Playground will be donated to Vitamin Angels, providing essential nutrients to children in the U.S. and around the world.


My favorite track is the first one "Eat Like a Rainbow". I also love the songs that are sung in French.

I am a pretty harsh critic of children's music, and I was only annoyed by a couple songs in this collection, like "Let's Make Cookies".

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 26, 2012

Recession Survival: Made for You and Me

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Many families have struggled during the current economic recession. Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home by Caitlin Shetterly is one such story.

Newlywed Caitlin Shetterly and her husband, Dan Davis, two hardworking freelancers, began their lives together in 2008 by pursuing a lifelong, shared dream of leaving Maine and going West. At first, California was the land of plenty. Quickly, though, the recession landed, and a surprise pregnancy that was also surprisingly rough made Caitlin too sick to work. By December, every job Dan had lined up had been canceled, and though he pounded the pavement, from shop to shop and from bar to bar, he could not find any work at all. By March 2009, every cent of the couple's savings had been spent.

So, a year after they'd set out with big plans, Caitlin and Dan packed up again, this time with a baby on board, to make their way home to move in with Caitlin's mother. As they drove, Caitlin blogged about their situation and created audio diaries for NPR's Weekend Edition--and received an astounding response. From all across the country, listeners offered help, opening their hearts and their homes. And when the young family arrived back in rural Maine and squeezed into Caitlin's mother's small saltbox house, Caitlin learned that the bonds of family run deeper than any tug to roam, and that, with love, she and Dan could hold their dreams in sight, wherever they were.


I could not find any information about the paper or printing of this book. There is nothing green about it, as far as I can tell.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 26, 2012

Great Green Children's Literature The Sun in Me: Poems about the Planet

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I have always been impressed with any title published by Barefoot Books. The Sun in Me: Poems about the Planet does not disappoint!

Listen to the soothing patter of a summer rainfall, watch the first flames of the rising sun, and sing with the stars as you travel through this enchanting anthology of nature poems. Poems from many different cultures are brought together here to celebrate the beauty and fragility of our lovely Earth.
One of my favorite poems is called "The Song of the Stars" from a Pasamaquoddy Indian song:
We are the stars which sing.
We sing with our light.
We are the birds of fire
We fly across the heaven.

These lovely poems very in length and are sure to inspire your own little poets. It would also be a great project for Earth Day to use this book as a spring board for a classroom set of "poems for the planet".

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 24, 2012

Kid-Friendly, Natural Snacks: FruitaBu Apple Rolls

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When my children were toddlers, they loved Stretch Island Fruit Leather. This obsession has worn off as they age.

Stretch Island also makes Stretch Island Fruitabu Rolls. We were sent the apple flavor to try:

Kids enjoy the wonder of real fruit in tasty FruitaBü® Smoooshed® Fruit Rolls. Portable and convenient, our Smoooshed Fruit Rolls contain:
  • 1 serving* of all-natural fruit
  • No artificial additives
  • Real-fruit purée
  • No added sugar - all sugar comes naturally from fruit
My kids do not enjoy the rolls as much as the leathers, as they are messier and harder to eat. I also wish they were organic.
 

I do like how Stretch Island supports Fruit Tree 101:

Established in 2007 by Stretch Island Fruit Co. and The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, Fruit Tree 101 plants orchards at schools to address proper nutrition and sustainability with students across the country. When an orchard is donated to a school, students and teachers work together to plant trees while learning how fruit is important to a healthy diet and planet.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 21, 2012

Super Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things

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Do you like to tinker and create? My son does, and Super Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things: Power Devices with Your Plants, Modify High-Tech Toys, Turn a Penny into a Battery, Make Sneaky Light-up Nails ... Sneaky Levitation with Everyday Things will be his favorite book once he his older.

As the eighth book in Cy Tymony's Sneaky Uses series Super Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things includes never-before-seen activities, including Sneaky Fashion such as Light-up Nails and Sneaky Belts and Bracelets.

Over 30 new inventions are outlined inside Super Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things, and most projects can be completed in just minutes using common items already found around the house. Each activity begins with a complete list of materials and continues with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions paired with helpful illustrations. Fans of all ages will use their ingenuity to turn ordinary, everyday objects into something extraordinary with the help of Super Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things.


There isn't really anything eco-friendly about the book, other than you use everyday objects you already own. It is printed in the USA. The publisher's website states:

Environment We uphold high ethical standards of honesty and integrity in all aspects of our business dealings. We maintain a climate that attracts the best people and provides them with rewarding career opportunities.
Obviously, they are not referring to environment in the same context as this blog. There is no information as to the source of the paper in this book, but it appears to be newsprint.

This would be a great book for fun science projects as part of school!
 

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook: Food to Live By

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Earthbound Farm is a large organic producer available around the country and in many big box stores. Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook is filled with beautiful recipes and photographs from the one of the founders Myra Goodman.

Organic food is synonymous with premium quality, the deepest, richest taste, conscientious farming, and optimum health. It's what we need to feed our kids, what we deserve to feed ourselves. And no one is doing more to popularize organic food that Myra Goodman, a mother, a creative cook, and most significantly, co-owner of Earthbound Farm, the world's largest grower and purveyor of organic produce.

In Food to Live By, a dazzling full-color cookbook, Myra Goodman offers an utterly appealing, new casual style of cooking based on using the best ingredients, organic or otherwise. The dishes are irresistible: Sweet Corn Chowder. Spinach, Feta and Mushroom Quiche. Foggy Day Chili. Merlot-Braised Short Ribs with Cipollini Onions. Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Ginger Lime Salmon. Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Orange Sauce. Blue Cheese Smashed Potatoes. Coconut Lemongrass Sorbet. Cherry Panna Cotta. Farm Stand Carrot Cake. Plus, throughout are Farm-Fresh Ingredient boxes--on sorrel, corn, asparagus, artichokes-- cooking and shopping tips, and health notes.

I can't wait to try the summer berry crisp and the roasted beet salad!

This is an omnivore's cookbook.

I try to buy local produce and avoid bagged items like Earthbound Farm, but I do enjoy this cookbook. 

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 19, 2012

Natural Snacking: TLC Soft-Baked Apple Spice Bars and Non-GMO Verification

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Back in the spring, I recall GMO controversy surrounding Kashi products. I was upset, as my son loves Organic Autumn Wheat cereal. Fortunately, this is one of their products that is certified GMO-free.

Kashi explains the problems with GMOs and how difficult it is becoming to ensure products do not contain these ingredients due to their prevalence in agriculture.

What's Kashi position on GMO?
At Kashi, we've been helping to create positive change in the food system since 1984 when the company was founded. Currently, more than 80% of many crops are grown using genetic engineering in America and only 0.7% of U.S. cropland is organically grown so we believe the food system still needs to evolve. That's why in 2002 we began significantly ramping up our use of organic ingredients, which has increased seven-fold since that time. Now we're partnering with the Non-GMO Project to achieve Non-GMO Project Verification, which is another important milestone on our journey.

Do you use GMO ingredients?
The foundation of our foods is our unique combination of seven whole grains which are not grown using GMOs. However, the majority of food crops grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered. In addition, factors such as pollen drift from nearby crops and current practices in agricultural storage, handling, and shipping, has led to an environment in North America where GMOs are not sufficiently segregated. As a result, some of our foods include ingredients made from genetically engineered crops.

Seven Kashi products are verified as Non-GMO. The product we were sent to try is not one of them. Kashi TLC Cereal Bar Baked Apple:

Ingredients
Our Tasty Ingredients: Apple Filling (Pear Juice Concentrate, Evaporated Cane Juice, Tapioca Syrup, Apple Powder, Water, Unmodified Corn Starch, Vegetable Glycerin, Spices, Natural Flavor), Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame® Flour (Whole: Oats, Hard Red Winter Wheat, Long Grain Brown Rice, Rye, Triticale, Barley, Buckwheat, Sesame Seeds), Organic Whole Wheat Flour, Evaporated Cane Juice Syrup, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Organic Whole Oats, Honey, Tapioca Syrup, Gum Arabic, Oat Fiber, Vegetable Glycerin, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Natural Falvor. Contains Wheat and Soy Ingredients

I like that Kashi products are regularly available in large conventional grocery stores. It is one of the few choices for whole foods you can find. I wish more organic ingredients were used, and the company would move quickly towards GMO-free verification.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 18, 2012

Organic Energy Gel: Honey Stinger

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I admit, I have never tried an energy gel. I don't run marathons or cycle long distance. I do backpack.

Honey Stinger Gold Energy Gel uses the power of honey to give you long lasting energy when you need a pick me up.

  • Honey has been used for centuries as a source of pure energy and modern research is providing us with more information to show the benefits of how well it works. Try it for yourself!
  • Honey Stinger is more versatile than other energy gels. Consume it straight from the packet for a long-lasting boost of energy or spread it on toast or stir it into tea.
  • Consume it straight from the packet for a long-lasting boost of energy or spread it on toast or stir it into tea. All flavors also mix well with water to make a natural energy drink.
We were sent the following flavors to try:

  • acai pomegranate

  • vanilla

  • fruit smoothie

Each packet has 100 calories.

When I was in labor (19 hours!) with my daughter, my midwives would sneak a spoonful of honey into my mouth. This little bit of sweetness gave me energy to continue during this hard labor. I can see how these organic energy gels would help athletes.

We were also sent some Honey Stinger Organic Stinger Waffle: Lemon. The lemon is a refreshing twist on this classic cookie.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 17, 2012

Planet Dog for Green Pets! Orbee Tuff Maze with Treat

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Want to keep your dog entertained for hours or just drive him/her crazy? Planet Dog Mazee is an innovative dog toy that will do just that.

Clearly engaging, clearly rewarding, clearly fun. The fresh take on the stimulating puzzle craze. The interactive brain teaser is designed for long-lasting play. With a pliable, orbee-tuff outer shell, and unique inner maze. Stuff with planet dog eats and enjoy. This toy is intended for puzzle-play, not chewing, so it is not rated on The chew-o-meter scale. To clean, fill with hot water, shake vigorously and rinse.

My dogs love the 100% Natural Planet Dog Eats treats, and I love Planet Dog's mission.

Not only is this toy entertaining for your dog, it is also very entertaining to watch your dog try to get the treats out.  Be prepared to laugh!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 13, 2012

Green Office: Biodegradable Ballpoint Pen

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It is a rare need to buy pens. They just kind of float around between owners and businesses, and sometimes, they are even seen littered on the side of the road. Although they use a small amount of plastic, biodegradable materials are always best for anything that is disposable.

ACME Studios Eco Pen Biodegradable Ballpoint Pens come in many colorful varieties.
Product Description

Made of a corn starch plastic which is 100% biodegradable. When disposed of properly, it will break down in approximately one year. Ink cartridges are not biodegradable. It comes in 12 luscious assorted colors. It features a porthole to check the ink level. The package includes 12 pens, one of every color. It is packaged in a recycled and recyclable box that is printed with soy ink. ECO pens are black ballpoints that are not refillable.

The ink viewing window is a little awkward for your grip, and the ink does not flow so smoothly, yet I am pleased the plastic comes from corn.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 12, 2012

Mental Floss the Book: Only the Greatest Lists in the History of Listory

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Do you enjoy reading about random facts and information? Then Mental Floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory is for you.

For ten years, the knowledge seekers at mental_floss have been hunting and trapping the world's rarest facts, locking them into captivating lists for the world to admire. Thanks to their tireless efforts, Mental Floss: The Book is packed with a decade's worth of the smartest, quirkiest stories around, including:

Five Presidential Fashion Flubs
Seven Shameless Abuses of Diplomatic Immunity
Five Units of Measurement Weirder Than the Metric System
Four Toys That Have Gone to War for America
Seven Reasons Mister Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever
Five Things Your Body Can Do After You Die
Six of Baseball's Strangest Trades
Four Foods People Actually Die For
Seven Things Walmart Has Banned
Four TV Shows That Changed the Course of History
Ten "Q" Words That Aren't "Q-U" Words
Four Horrifying Parasites to Keep You Awake at Night
Eight Fake Archaeological Finds
Five Articles of Clothing That Caused Riots
Four Memorable Moments in Cross-Dressing History
Five Doomsdays We've Already Survived
And 124 Other Extraordinary Lists!


This is the kind of book that you can just randomly open and find something interesting to read. It's great for the coffee table or bathroom.

At first, I though I would not be interested in these lists, but upon perusal, there is some good stuff inside.

Published by Harper Collins, this book's green characteristics are based on publisher's policies:

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

HarperCollins is committed to reducing its overall use of fiber and recycling where possible. Since 2006, we have reduced our global carbon footprint by 14%. We seek to reduce basis weights on titles where appropriate in order to reduce the use of fiber and raw materials consumed in the production of that paper. In addition, we have an extensive supply chain management process that allows to better manage print runs, and we are increasing the use of Print on Demand (POD) technologies to make for less waste in printing and shipping.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 11, 2012

Children's Literature With a Message: I Have to Be Me

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First off, I apologize to our readers when they encounter a review on this blog that has no seeming connection to natural living. I always feel obligated when sent a product or book for review to, well, review it, even if it has no green qualities. Exposing such characteristics is just as important as featuring truly eco-friendly goods. It's not exactly greenwashing, except it being marketed to a green blog. This is such a review.

Kate Kate The Fashion Plate by Deborah Kanafani is the story of a little girl who aspires to be a fashion designer.

Kate Kate The Fashion Plate, "I Have To Be Me" is the first in a series about an aspiring tween aged fashion designer in New York City. Kate has been busy designing dresses for Marie and Antoinette, her two little dogs. But now she has a chance to shine as a famous fashion designer, or so she thinks. When Kate's' mom, a fashion icon and head of The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art arranges for Kate to help dress the mannequins at Bergs, New York's fanciest department store, Kate is jumping for joy. Kate has to promise her mother that she will dress in the latest style, "plain and simple" when she goes to Bergs, and not in one of her own designs. But it seems Kate has a problem. Although she tries, she just can't seem to look like everyone else. Even worse, the dresses she is given to put on the mannequins are so "booooring" they make Kate feel sad. Bursting with ideas on how to give the dresses more sparkle and pizzazz, Kate gets carried away.... until Mrs. Blinker, the owner of Bergs walks in and sees what Kate is doing. Now that Kate is in big trouble, what will happen to her dreams of being a fashion designer? Does Kate learn that she has to look like everyone else to be liked? Kate's adventures are fun. They introduce girls to historical characters through fashion, inspire girls to be entrepreneurial and encourage girls to celebrate their individuality.

Although I am glad Kate does not succumb to the influences of conforming, I would prefer if the book was Kate, Kate the Sustainable Fashion Plate. I like how the end of the book features blank mannequin pages for children to design their own fashions.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 10, 2012

Sustainable Fashion: Revenge Is...

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I love discovering new sustainable fashions, as it appeases my eco-guilt of excessive clothing. Revenge Is... makes t-shirts from organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles. 10% of company profits are donated to charities.

We were sent a kids "THINK GREEN" S/S CREW NECK TEE":

Together, we can change the world for our children and all children around the planet. We want them to grow up, work and raise their own families in a thriving planet, Instilling the need to protect our environment and the knowledge of how to do so at a young age will breed the eco-heroes of tomorrow. Our "Think Green" t-shirt demonstrates our commitment to educating younger generations about the little things they can do to affect big change when it comes to saving our planet.

Featuring an adorable, green-themed graphic designed exclusively for Revenge Is... by Benjamin Della Rosa, this super-soft kid's tee is a 50/50 blend of recycled plastic bottles and organic cotton and printed with non-toxic, water-based inks. This t-shirt is manufactured and printed in the USA.


I use to avoid polyester fabrics, yet the recycled RPET does add softness to this shirt, especially when hanging to dry on the laundry line compared to the dryer. The design is whimsical, and the fit classic. This is a great kids t-shirt!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 9, 2012

Organic SPF 20 Everyday Sheer Coverage for Your Face

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One of my favorite organic skin care lines is Marie Veronique Organics! I trust the quality and ingredients to be safe and effective. I've tried several of MVO's products before, all with glowing reviews! Now, I get to try the Everyday Sheer Coverage, SPF 20 Medium Tint:

Product Features
  • Natural makeup with sunscreen SPF provides essential every day UVA/UVB protection and defends against premature aging with a unique combination of natural humectants, emollients and anti-oxidants.
  • Evens skin tones and absorbs into the skin leaving a lovely matte finish.
  • Provides anti-aging support with beta glucans, glucosamine, and powerful anti-oxidants such as coffee fruit extract, while preventing moisture loss from exposure to the elements with sea buckthorn and broccoli seed oils.
  • Made with non-micronized zinc oxide, a physical sun block that reflects UV rays without releasing wrinkle and cancer-causing free radicals.
  • Marie Veronique Organics natural skincare has been rated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) as one of the safest skincare lines on the market, including Top Sunscreens.
The consistency of this product is quite lovely, and it works into your skin beautifully. I love the tint, as it hides the imperfections in my skin without looking or feeling like I am wearing makeup. Furthermore, the SPF protection is just what the doctor ordered!

This product has earned a very low hazard score of two by the Environmental Working Group.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 6, 2012

Slow Cooker Plus Casseroles, Soups, & Stews

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Slow Cooker Plus Casseroles, Soups & Stews (105 Easy Family Favorites plus Slim Down Suppers) is a bookazine from the editors of Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and Country Living (1-year auto-renewal). These recipes are heavy on the meat, but many of them could be adapted to a vegetarian diet. 

 There is a vegetarian lasagna recipe that looks good, although I would admit the fake meat. I have never made lasagna in the slow cooker. I bet it would be really good. The winter vegetable pot pie recipe also looks really delicious, although not a slow cooker recipe. I like how it is just topped with biscuits instead of being baked in a pie shell. In fact, I think I will make this for dinner tonight!

It may not seem like soup or stew weather, but summer is a great time for warm foods when they are bountiful in our gardens and local farms.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 5, 2012

Green Office: Sustainable Earth Products from Staples

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It is nice to see more and more eco-friendly options at traditional stores, especially office supplies. I still remember when I was in college having to go to a special store just to buy recycled ruled paper, and it was a heavy grey color.

As part of a their Sustainable Earth line, Staples offers many green products. We were sent the following:

Sustainable Earth by Staples™ SE-230E 8-Digit Display ECO Calculator:
Of course, solar calculators aren't exactly hard to find, but this one's casing is made from recycled ink and toner cartridges.

Sustainable Earth by Staples® All-Purpose Cleaner:

  • This product has been formulated in partnership with EPA Design for the Environment Formulator Initiative

  • This product meets the Green SealTM environmental standard for household cleaners based on its reduced toxicity, biodegradability, packaging, and other characteristics
Staples 4GB Bamboo USB 2.0 USB Flash Drive:
Casing is 100% Bamboo, a renewable resource
Sustainable Earth by Staples™ #10 Gummed 100% Recycled Envelopes:

  • 100% post-consumer paper; meets or exceeds the Government Printing Office's and EPA's standard for recycled paper

  • Processed without using chlorine or chlorine compounds
Sustainable Earth by Staples® Wirebound Notebook:
Made from 80% sugarcane waste
My favorite product is the notebook. I love that it also has pockets inside.

Many schools and offices are limited as to where they can purchase supplies. I am thankful that more green options are available from suppliers that accept purchase orders.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 4, 2012

Recycled, FSC Certified Custom Stationary by Invitation Box

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I am not very good at writing thank yous and personal notes. I know they are appreciated, especially by my parents' generation, yet I can never find the time. Isn't it easier to just send an email, text, or Facebook message? Yes, I know that is lame, but I am also very sensitive about paper use. It has to come from somewhere!

We were sent two very lovely personal cards by InvitationBox. There are so many choices on their site (over 18,000), that I could not find the exact ones. Fortunately, these cards are green!

InvitationBox is so excited to tell you that we're doing our part to help reduce our carbon footprint through the use of recycled paper and FSC and SFI-certified paper to manufacture our invitations. Many people find it hard to understand this "eco-geek" jargon, so we've broken it down and offered up as much information about our processes as we can.
Our Green Efforts

  • Use of Cougar Paper for Digital Designs
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  • Over 15,000 Combined Green Items Available!!
  • InvitationBox.com donates a portion of its revenue on all InvitationBox Green items to the Conservation Fund.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 3, 2012

"Chemical Free" SPF 30 Pure Protection by Skinfo Contains Parabens

PureProtection.gif
I just went to my yearly check up and was reminded of the importance of sun protection. It was rather apropos I was sent Skinfo's SPF 30 Pure Protection:

Pure Protection SPF 30 has been specially formulated with Micronized Zinc Oxide to provide the broad spectrum protection of ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB) in combination with a rich blend of free radical quenching antioxidants consisting of liposomal vitamins A, C, E, green tea extract and Co-Q10. This is especially good for sensitive skin types as it is "chemical-free".

Unfortunately, this product contains parabens: Methylparaben and Propylparaben. The Good Human explains why you should avoid parabens:
What Are Parabens?

Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives, and that's why they are found in so many products. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus, are widely available, and cost very little to manufacture and use. Nearly all of the parabens used as preservatives are man-made and not naturally occurring.

Why Are Parabens Bad?

Now, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I know that there have been studies on both sides of the argument about what parabens are and whether parabens are bad or parabens are safe. But because there have been studies that say that it is potentially dangerous and that have linked parabens to cancer, I have chosen to take the precautionary route and not use products containing them when I can help it. Whether or not they are as bad as some say they are, I would always rather err on the side of safety when it comes to my body and health.

Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Researchers have found parabens in breast tumors and believe there is a relationship between parabens and tumors. And in the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology, Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben "adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system." If a causal link between a chemical and cancer is not enough to avoid a product that can easily be avoided, I don't know what is. There are a lot of other reports available all over the internet, but most of them are all related to reproductive health in some way or another.

It always disappoints me when products are marketed as "chemical-free" when they are not.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 2, 2012

Really Natural June 2012 Monthly Roundup

Beauty

Fashion

Food

Green Cleaning

Health

Herbal Medicine

Kids

Monthly Round-Up

Product review

Really Natural Books

Travel

environment

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking
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