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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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
  • 10% Post-Consumer Fiber Content
  • Sustainable Forest Initiative(SFI) Certified
  • Forest Stewardship Council(FSC) Certified
  • Fully Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) and Lignin Free
  • Manufactured Acid Free
  • 30% Post-Consumer Waste Fiber Content
  • Paper Manufactured Using Green-e Certified Renewable Wind-Generated Electricity
  • 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 at Permalink social bookmarking

July 3, 2012

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

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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 at Permalink social bookmarking

June 30, 2012

Celadon Road Organic and Natural Products: Discover Your Shade of Green, but Would You Pay to be a Hostess?

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I am confused by Celadon Road. From the moment I opened the package of samples and couldn't read the font of the company's name and white powder got all over my hands (I couldn't help but think anthrax), I could tell this was not going to be an easy product review.   

I went to the website and was even more confused. It wanted me to log in or sign up.  Did I want to spend $150 to become an independent consultant?  I continued to be irked. 

 The samples we were sent were extremely small and leaking all over the packaging. Laundry detergent in a ziplock bag, hand soap enough for one washing...you can see how my annoyance grew.

We were sent the following products to barely try. It was a chore trying to find them on the website, where they were poorly photographed.
Lavender Hand Soap

Get Your Foam On. Excitingly rich and foamy, this is not just any hand wash! Celadon Road's™ Lavender Hand Soap starts with Certified Organic ingredients and infuses them with oxygen to create a foaming wash that boasts a wonderful feel and luxurious lather. Wrapped in a handy refillable dispenser, you'll never go back to the same old, same old again!

Lavender Shower Gel
Liquid Lavender. A mixture of essential oils, pure vegetable oil soap, natural extracts and lavender, our Certified Organic recipe will introduce relaxation into your routine and glowing skin into your life.

Cedarwood Laundry Detergent
Conquer Laundry Mountain Naturally. With the essence of pure essential oils, it takes only 1-2 tablespoons of Celadon Road's™ low-sudsing Cedarwood Laundry Detergent to work its all-natural magic on any dreaded laundry mountain! Use in regular or high efficiency washers. Dissolve in water for washing floors and walls. An all-natural family formula, this detergent was originally created to ease the suffering of a child with eczema aggravated by commercial laundry products.

All Room Cleanser
Multi-Tasking, Mess-Fighting Super-Cleaner. Created with the idea of keeping children and the environment safe, Celadon Road's™ All Room Cleanser naturally and effectively cleans some of your toughest household jobs without the worry of dangerous chemicals. From removing soap scum in your bathroom to the stubborn grease on your stove top, this multi-tasking, mess-fighting super-cleaner will bring comfort to your mind and a fresh lime scent to your home

The products online did not disclose ingredients, and of course my samples were not in original packaging for  consultation. I was sent an ingredient supply list, but many of the products listed "a proprietary blend" without full disclosure. I can't help but think of fracking when I read proprietary blend.

I don't like products that are not accessible to the general product without going through an independent consultant. It reminds me of Amway.

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 at Permalink social bookmarking

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