November 30, 2012

Sustainable Stocking Stuffers: Sweet Pure Honey Lip Balm and Perfume Stick


I love honey! I love supporting small family farmers! Sweet Pure Honey is the product of a loving family with 400 hives.

We were sent three face and body products to try:

SWEET PURE HONEY BALM & CREME
Sweet Pure Honey balm and creme are handmade with 2 ingredients. We gently heat and blend beeswax and organic coconut oil to make our signature lip and body balms.
Organic coconut oil is rich in antioxidant, nutrients and provides amazing moisture benefits for healthy looking skin. Raw beeswax is hypo-allergenic and scented naturally with honey. Containing both pollen and propolis, it is beeswax in its most natural form. Made fresh and never warehoused, Sweet Pure Honey balm and creme are hand poured and created with care.
LOVE SOLID SCENT ORGANIC PERFUME STICK
Using our signature 2 ingredient balm we combine organic lemon grass, orange, and vanilla sandalwood essential oils to create an uplifting, mood shifting sumptuous scent.
SWEET PURE HONEY MICA
Sweet Pure Honey MICA lip tints are made with 3 natural ingredients.

These gentle products are made of a few simple ingredients. I really like the perfume stick, of which I had never tried a honey-based one before. It goes on easily, so you don't overdue the scent, and it feels nourishing.

These are truly sustainable, handmade products made with love!  Plus, those kids are super cute!

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.

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November 29, 2012

Bottled Water Facts: 28 billion bottles a year [infographic]

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Via: MoveOn.org

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November 28, 2012

SunRidge Farms: Organic, Antioxidant, 1% Donation to Defenders of Wildlife

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After all that holiday eating, trail mix is a great snack to give you energy and feel the goodness of raw food.

One of the first trail mixes I ever tried was from SunRidge Farms. It amazes me how this company keeps reinventing trail mix in new combinations.

We were sent the following four nut and dried food mixes to try:

Sunridge Farms Deluxe Trail Mix:

Great on the go, for hiking, biking and other activities. SunRidge Farms Organic Deluxe Trail Mix is Organic Trail Mix at its finest. a premium assemblage of the finest select ingredients, blended together for flavor and convenience. With Organic Dried Apricots, Organic Roasted Peanuts, Organic Raw Almonds, Organic Dried Apples, Organic Walnuts, Organic Date Pieces, Organic Sunflower Seeds and Organic Raisins. the result is a snack that tastes delicious, contains fiber, iron and other nutrients.

Sunridge Farms Organic Cranberry Harvest
SunRidge Farms Organic Cranberry Harvest is a lively combination of the freshest ingredients harvested, dried, roasted and mixed. A hearty blend of sweet and tangy Organic Dried Cranberries, Rich and smooth Organic Dark Chocolate Chips, Sweet Organic Apples, Golden Organic Almonds, Crunchy Fresh Organic Peanuts and flavorful Organic Pumpkin Seeds. great for holidays, parties, gift baskets, snacks and lunches. dark chocolate is recognized for its antioxidant properties the result is a snack that tastes delicious, contains fiber, iron and other nutrients.

Sunridge Farm, Trail Mix Women Vitality:
All Natural Plump, Sun-Ripened, sweet raisins, dipped in premium SunRidge Farms All Natural Dark Chocolate. 65% Dark Cacao Solids great for holidays, parties, gift baskets, snacks and lunches. dark chocolate is recognized for its antioxidant properties the result is a snack that tastes delicious, contains fiber, iron and other nutrients.

Berries and Chocolate Antioxidant Mix:
Packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lycopene, and beta carotene, Berries and Chocolate Antioxidant Mix is 100 percent vegetarian. All natural, without artificial flavorings and preservatives, the mix includes a hand-selected blend of sun-ripened blueberries, dark chocolate stars, freshly roasted almonds, walnuts, cranberries, cherries, cashews and peanuts.

Only the deluxe trail mix and cranberry harvest mix are organic, and only the antioxidant mix sales are donated to Defenders of Wildlife. I wish all of the products were organic and a donations of all sales went to environmental organizations.

My favorite mix we were sent is the antioxidant one. I love chocolate and berries!

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.

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November 27, 2012

Greenhouse Gases Hit New Record in 2011

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Last week while Americans were preparing their Thanksgiving feasts, a new damning report came out on the status of climate change. Unfortunately, we are not curbing greenhouse gas emissions fast enough.

Eco Watch explains:

The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2011, according to a press release today by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)...

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations--and not emissions--of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere. Concentrations represent what remains in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere and the oceans.

CO2 is the most important of the long-lived greenhouse gases--so named because they trap radiation within the Earth's atmosphere causing it to warm. Human activities, such as fossil fuel burning and land use change (for instance, tropical deforestation), are the main sources of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The other main long-lived greenhouse gases are methane and nitrous oxide. Increasing concentrations of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are drivers of climate change.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, quoted in the bulletin, shows that from 1990 to 2011, radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases increased by 30 percent, with CO2 accounting for about 80 percent of this increase. Total radiative forcing of all long-lived greenhouse gases was the CO2 equivalent of 473 parts per million in 2011.

Image:
Attribution Some rights reserved by woodleywonderworks

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November 26, 2012

Choice Decaf and Caffeinated Organic Teas: Korean Green, Masala and Rooibos Chai

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Do you love chai and green tea? I do, especially when I do not want a second cup of coffee.

The four new teas reinforce Choice Organic Teas' commitment to offer high quality teas from around the world while honoring their traditions.

Premium Korean Green (Green Tea) - This lush tea hails from Jeju Island, South Korea's "Island of the Gods." From fertile volcanic soil to subtropical forests, this pristine isle offers rich tea-growing terroir. The leaves are steamed, rolled and dried in the Sencha tradition, for a fresh and savory cup.

Decaffeinated Green (Decaf Green Tea)< - Delight in the best of both worlds with a cup that's both decaffeinated and flavorful. This crisp green tea grown in the mountains of India is gently decaffeinated using carbon dioxide, the only certified organic method. Enjoy the true essence of this refreshing and wholesome tea day or night.

Masala Chai (Black Tea) - Spice things up with this bold classic, featuring malty Assam tea from India's Brahmaputra River Valley. Choice Organic Teas blends rich, robust black tea with masala spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and black pepper) for a spirited cup that warms your body and soul. It blends perfectly with milk and sweetener for an authentic chai.

Rooibos Chai (Herbal Tea) - Thrill your senses with this naturally caffeine-free twist on traditional chai. Choice Organic Teas blends rich South African rooibos with the finest masala spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and black pepper) for a cup that's warming, robust and subtly sweet. It's a luscious treat that pairs wonderfully with milk and sweetener.

Although I prefer loose leaf tea, all of these tea bags are delicious!  The Premium Korean Green is my favorite of these four varieties.  

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.

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November 23, 2012

Design Your Own Destiny: Are you in balance?

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As the days of of light are shorter and holidays bring out feelings of loneliness in some, it is a good time to reflect upon our lives. We do not need to feel as if we are not in control, and our choices and intentions make all the difference in the world.

Design Your Own Destiny: Life Planning for the 21st Century by Mary A. Molloy follows six steps for changing your life:

What if you could have the life you always wanted? What if it wasn't as hard as you thought? What if instead of always asking What if? you decided to dive in and design the destiny of your dreams? That opportunity is here now in Design Your Own Destiny: Life Planning for the 21st Century.

Whether it's looking for a job or trying to figure out the next steps to take in a relationship, award-winning author, speaker and life-planner Mary A. Molloy takes readers to a place where possibilities become realities. Combining years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and clients all over the globe, Mary provides the answers to how people can make it happen. Examining the complete life with deeper connections Molloy helps people to:

o Find work/life balance
o Create tangible goals
o Put plans into action
o See results and measure success

Whether it's changing roles, changing perspectives or challenging the status quo, Mary helps readers take control and not leave what is most important to chance. She shows readers step-by-step how to break down the complex process of changing one's life so that everyone gets a personalized and manageable way to make their dreams happen.

Inspired by a talk she gave to twenty-five homeless women - many of whom took her Life Designs and were able to leave the shelter - Design Your Own Destiny will help you create the life you want to lead!


I am not really one for self help books or life coaches. My idea of self help is to practice yoga; however, flipping through this book, I saw ideas I would like to use with my students, like the draw your dreams worksheet.

Unfortunately, there is nothing eco-friendly about this book, that I can find, unless your life goals involve living a greener life, as mine do.

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.

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November 21, 2012

Bell Plantation PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

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I've been using the Bell Plantation PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter to mix in with my smoothies after my long runs of 13 miles or more. I love the flavor and I also love that it's an all natural product. The bag weighs in at 16oz and will last you quite a few weeks of long runs. If you're worried about fat - then don't be. 90% of the fat is removed from the peanut. I haven't tried to use the powder in place of peanut butter, but from the reviews it seems it's a good alternative with less fat and the same taste.

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November 15, 2012

Really Natural Books: Echoes of Earth: Finding ourselves in the origins of the planet

echoes_of_earth.jpgA truly beautiful and inspiring book, Echoes of Earth: Finding ourselves in the origins of the planet by L. Sue Baugh combines geology with spiritual wisdom.

Echoes of Earth: Finding ourselves in the origins of the planet tells the story of a life-changing journey taken by L. Sue Baugh and her colleague, Lynn Martinelli, to document some of the oldest rock and minerals in the world. They traveled to remote regions in Western Australia, Greenland, Northwest Canada, and the Grand Canyon, and eventually journeyed into territory not marked on any map.

Echoes of Earth reveals the extraordinary story they found in the breathtaking beauty and transforming power of these ancient sites. Not only did the two women reawaken their own artistic lives, they also discovered that our human origins lie hidden in the secrets of the oldest stones. We carry ancient minerals deep within our bones and ancient life within our human cells. We are all echoes of Earth.

The book's innovative design includes foldouts, half pages, and cutouts that shift the reader's perspective in surprising and profound ways. The Timelines of Earth, with illustrations by the author, reveal how ancient stone and ancient life built and still sustain this world we inhabit. Echoes of Earth invites you to explore some of the world's most ancient places and to discover for yourself our deep, intimate connection to Earth.


There is so much to be learned from this book! I hope to visit some of these places myself, and I can't wait to share it with my daughter. When we go backpacking, I always wish I knew more about the unique geology of the area.

I find especially interesting the sections on "Ancient minerals within us" and "Ancient life within us".

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.

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November 14, 2012

San Juan County, Washington Bans GMO Crops

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Proposition 37, the GMO labeling of food in California, may have narrowly failed, but counties across the United States have responded by banning GMO agriculture through ordinances. Eight years ago, the county I live in became only the second county in the country to ban GMO crops. Now, San Juan County in Washington state has followed suit.

Nation of Change reports:

The concerned citizens of San Juan County were able to pass what is known as Initiative Measure No. 2012-4, which actually bans the growth of genetically modified organisms within the county.
 And it doesn't just affect traditional GMO crops.

According to the writing within the legislation, the Initiative actually protects against the growth and cultivation of any genetically modified organism -- even animals which have been genetically modified. This specific wording is key when considering that the act of genetic modification is no longer specific to crops. While it is true that crops have been the major focus of GMO cultivation, with upwards of 90 plus percent of corn now reportedly being altered, new disturbing and outlandish biotech projects that twist the genetic coding of more advanced life are becoming much more frequent.

Unfortunately, county ordinances don't hold much weight in issues of private property rights.  My county also has a ban on pesticide use in agriculture, but when a local vineyard starting using Round-up, I found out it was unenforceable.   I hope the San Juan initiative holds more weight. 

Image:  
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November 13, 2012

Green Tea Goodness & Juice: Teas' Tea half & HALF

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Are you looking for a refreshing beverage that is low in calorie yet full of flavor? All natural Teas' Tea Plus mixes combine half green tea with half juice in a delicious thirst quencher. Sweetened with Stevia and containing only 50 calories per serving (two servings per bottle), these drinks are a delight.

Award-winning TEAS' TEA launches a new and refreshing beverage. Traditionally "half & half" beverages use black tea and are very high in calories. TEAS' TEA has created a healthy half & HALF using our premium quality, and meticulously brewed green tea blended with fruit juices for a healthy and delicious tasting beverages.
We were sent the following flavors to try: I think my favorite flavor is the green apple, although I wish these beverages were organic. They do contain caffeine, which is great for an afternoon pick-me-up, and since they contain green tea, there are catechins antioxidants.

The name is a little misleading, as they are not 50% juice but only 3% juice, but I am fine with that. If they contained more juice, the flavor would be overpowering. 
 

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.

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November 12, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

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Via: US Veteran's Magazine

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November 9, 2012

Navitas Naturals Organic Freeze-Dried Coconut Water Powder Perfect for Backpacking

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Although snow is now falling in the mountains and backpacking season is pretty much over here in northern California, I am really excited to try a new product on the trail.

Navitas Naturals Organic Freeze-Dried Coconut Water Powder:

Designed for on-the-go hydration, Navitas Naturals Coconut Water Powder is made from the juices found inside fresh, young organic coconuts. The electrolyte-rich liquid inside the coconut has been removed and freeze-dried to preserve the flavor and nutrients in the powder, which is certified organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free and kosher.

This innovative organic drink powder provides 5 key electrolytes to support rapid hydration: sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Each 35-calorie serving contains more potassium than a banana, and it provides many other essential minerals and vitamins.

This powder will be ideal for backpacking, when hydration is key, as well as replenishing electrolytes. Furthermore, since it is a powder, it will not increase the weight of my pack by much, which is why coconut water is not part of my typical diet when on the trail.

Coconut water is so good for you, especially when you have been sick or physically tired.  I am thankful there is now another organic option.


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.

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November 7, 2012

Eat Miso Soup: 50% Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer

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After experiencing food poisoning Monday evening, all I wanted to put into my tender tummy was miso soup. When I opened up the miso paste, there was this statement: "Miso soup consumption linked with up to 50% reduced risk of breast cancer." I had not heard of this before!

According to a study conducted nine years ago that was reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. WebMD explains,

In it, Yamamoto and colleagues identified 21,852 women between the ages of 40 and 59 and surveyed them about various lifestyle issues, including their diet.

They traced the women 10 years later and found that 179 had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Again, they surveyed all the women about their diet -- how frequently they ate miso soup and soy foods such as soybeans and tofu. The researchers then calculated the amount of isoflavones consumed.

Researchers found that:

  • 75% of the women consumed miso soup almost daily; of those, 23% had one cup per day, 43% had two, and 34% had three or more per day.
  • 45% had soy foods almost daily, 35% ate soy foods three or four times a week, 17% had it one or two times a week, 2% almost never ate soy foods.
  • Women with the most isoflavones in their diet had the lowest risk of breast cancer. This was especially true of postmenopausal women.
  • Eating soy foods in general, however, did not lower the risk of breast cancer.
  • Other traditional eating habits -- eating more rice, pickles, vegetables, and fish -- were also linked with lower breast cancer risk.
  • Even those who drank the least miso soup still got 250 times more isoflavones in their diet than does the typical U.S. woman.
  • I think I will eat more miso!

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    November 5, 2012

    Method for the Holidays: Sugared Mint Dish Soap

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    If you haven't noticed, the holidays are coming! Ornamented trees are appearing in stores, snow is dusting mountain tops, and Method is releasing a special line of holiday products.

    Method Natural Concentrated Pump Dish Soap is now available in holiday themed recycled bottle and scent.

    The holiday line features a gel hand soap, foaming hand soap, and dish soap in the delectable scents of Sugar and Spice (Sugared Mint gel hand wash, Gingerbread foaming hand wash, and Sugared Mint dish soap) and the wintry fragrances Evergreen Nice (Frosted Fir gel hand wash, Mistletoe foaming hand wash, and Frosted Fir dish soap).
    I like how Method products are readily available at stores that don't cater to natural only products, but it is not my go to brand.  
     

    The Good Guide has given a similar product, perhaps from last year's holiday, a favorable score.

    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.

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    November 2, 2012

    The Battle over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism

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    The Battle over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism by Robert W. Righter is an extremely thorough and historical account of one of the most famous dams in the country. Filled with historical photographs of the valley that is now flooded, you can't help but wonder what was lost, not just in Hetch Hetchy, but in the hundreds of valleys that are now under reservoirs.

    In the wake of the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire, the city of San Francisco desperately needed reliable supplies of water and electricity. Its mayor, James Phelan, pressed for the damming of the Tuolumne River in the newly created Yosemite National Park, setting off a firestorm of protest. For the first time in American history, a significant national opposition arose to defend and preserve nature, led by John Muir and the Sierra Club, who sought to protect what they believed was the right of all Americans to experience natural beauty, particularly the magnificent mountains of the Yosemite region. Yet the defenders of the valley, while opposing the creation of a dam and reservoir, did not intend for it to be maintained as wilderness. Instead they advocated a different kind of development--the building of roads, hotels, and an infrastructure to support recreational tourism. Using articles, pamphlets, and broadsides, they successfully whipped up public opinion against the dam. Letters from individuals began to pour into Congress by the thousands, and major newspapers published editorials condemning the dam. The fight went to the floor of Congress, where politicians debated the value of scenery and the costs of western development. Ultimately, passage of the passage of the Raker Act in 1913 by Congress granted San Francisco the right to flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley. A decade later the O'Shaughnessy Dam, the second largest civil engineering project of its day after the Panama Canal, was completed. Yet conflict continued over the ownership of the watershed and the profits derived from hydroelectrocity. To this day the reservoir provides San Francisco with a pure and reliable source of drinking water and an important source of power. Although the Sierra Club lost this battle, the controversy stirred the public into action on behalf of national parks. Future debates over dams and restoration clearly demonstrated the burgeoning strength of grassroots environmentalism. In a narrative peopled by politicians and business leaders, engineers and laborers, preservationists and ordinary citizens, Robert W. Righter tells the epic story of the first major environmental battle of the twentieth century, which reverberates to this day.

    This is an incredible story in American history.

    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.

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    November 1, 2012

    Really Natural October 2012 Monthly Roundup

    Baby

    Fashion

    Food

    Gifts

    Health

    Kids

    Monthly Round-Up

    Product review

    Really Natural Books

    community

    environment

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