October 7, 2011

Really Natural Beauty: Jason Naturals 0 to 8 Hazard Scores

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I used to buy Jason Natural products because they are cheaper than many other beauty products at the health food store, that was until I had a negative reaction on my scalp. Ever since then, I avoid the label.  Thus, I was not surprised the company was targeted as one that committed "organic cosmetics fraud" by the Organic Consumers Association. In general, the brand earns hazard scores from zero to eight from the Environmental Working Group. Fragrance is one of the major ingredients that is a cause for concern.

We were sent the following Jason products to try:

I don't know if Jason's cleaned up their act, but many of these products have been reformulated so that's good.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 5, 2011

Really Natural Beauty: Aubrey Saving Face Sunscreen and Creme de la Shave

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Aubrey Organics has long been one of my trusted beauty brands. We were recently sent two products to try:
Natural Sun SPF 15 Saving Face Lotion

Light enough to wear under makeup, this gently moisturizing sunscreen is custom-made for the face's more delicate skin. Use it in place of your regular daytime moisturizer to protect skin from sun damage any time you're outside.

Crème de la shave Raspberry Honey:
Get Closer. Made with rich emollients and fruit extracts, this moisturizing shave cream pampers and protects your skin for a luxurious, ultra-smooth shave and legs so soft, you may not need a lotion after shaving. You'll love its silky feel and indulgent berry scent.

The Environmental Working Group gives the sunscreen a hazard score of two. They have not rated the shave creme.

I do have extensive experience with the sunscreen, as I took it on a backpacking trip. We used a whole tube, but we never got burnt.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 30, 2011

Really Natural Cookbooks: The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes

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I love my Cuisinart Slow Cooker! Just toss the ingredients in, then come home from work to dinner made! Nothing could be easier, except I seem to make the same thing in the slow cooker. It is always some version of this soup or dal, and I have been wanting a slow cooker cookbook to get me out of my rut.

The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson is in its second edition. Although, this is not a vegetarian cookbook, which I would prefer, the recipes are easily adaptable and many are rated as "vegan friendly".

Opposite the pressure cooker's speed stands the leisurely pace of the slow cooker, also enjoying new popularity. Despite the hyperbole of the title, The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes breaks out of the usual soups/stews confinement of other Crock-Pot cookbooks. Judith Finlayson has gone to some trouble to create spicy Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup, full of tropical vegetables and hot pepper. Hearty Carbonnade reproduces the famous Flemish beef casserole, complete with its obligatory beer. Rarely seen elsewhere, South Africa's national dish, Bobotie, here boasts curry-spiked meat under an egg topping. Indian dishes, both meat and vegetarian, also appear. Even cake is not out of the question if the slow cooker is prepared as Finlayson suggests. There are enough temptingly tasty recipes here to keep those slow cookers plugged in 24 hours a day.

I'm making the red lentil and carrot soup with coconut for dinner tonight! Yum!

This book has beautiful photographs to get your mouth watering, and there are even dessert recipes. I've never made dessert in my slow cooker and look forward to more adventures in slow cooking!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 23, 2011

Backcountry Gear: MSR Dragonfly Stove

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I am a firm believer that in order to live a greener life, you need to experience nature. To experience the backcountry, you need good gear!

MSR's Dragonfly Stove is a great backpacking stove.


  • CoolFuel™ Valve: First ever dual-valve design offers an unrivaled range of flame control - simmer to boil with a twist of the flame adjuster.

  • Extra Wide Pot Supports: Three wide pot supports hold larger MSR pots or fry pans for gourmet cooking.

  • Multi-Fuel: Burns white gas, kerosene and unleaded auto fuel.

  • Compact: Folds to 1/3 of its working size for easy storage.

  • Remote Burner: Pioneered by MSR, the separate fuel bottle and pump keep the flame away from the fuel, which allows the use of a windscreen to make the stove burn hotter and more efficiently.


The Dragonfly has an adjustable flame, is extremely reliable, and doesn't become covered in black carbon with repeated use. I've owned two MSR Whisperlite International Liquid-Fuel Stove, which work great when new, but after the first year, require constant maintenance and are more finicky. After my second one failed on a backpacking trip requiring I take the whole thing apart, I decided it was time to upgrade to the Dragonfly. I love my new stove!  It is definitely worth the couple extra ounces of weight and extra money for reliability and flame control.  

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 19, 2011

Really Natural Baby: BPA-Free Lifefactory Multi-Sensory Silicone Teether

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Lifefactory makes one of our favorite glass reusable drinking bottles. The company hasn't left baby out with their cool products! The Lifefactory Multi Sensory Silicone Teether is made in Wisconsin of medical grade silicone. Silicone is non-toxic, so safer than many plastic teethers on the market.

Multi-sensory, medical-grade silicone teethers are designed to develop oral motor skills. Teethers can be refrigerated or frozen to soothe gums.
Lifefactory's products are bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalate, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) free.

Personally, I preferred my babies chew on something natural when teething. We found the Under the Nile Organic Cotton Veggies in a Crate to be perfect, but I do think the Lifefactory teether may offer a little bit more satisfaction for little mouths.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 16, 2011

All Natural Popcorn Chips: Chip'ins by Popcorn Indiana

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Popcorn Indiana makes great snacks. We recently tried their Popcorn Indiana, Chips'in Sea Salt.

Here is the chip'ins for Purists. The main ingredients: Corn, sea salt, and air. While we couldn't park a farm right next to the ocean (though that would be pretty sweet), we were able to create the next best thing: Sea Salt chip'ins, the perfect, all natural triumvirate of taste, purity and crunch. Enjoy, and Munch Better.™

Unfortunately, they are not made from organic ingredients, and most of the corn grown commercially in this country is GMO. I also expected them to have chunks of popcorn in them. Instead, they are have pockets of air in the corn chip.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 14, 2011

Really Natural Beauty: Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer and Green Apple Peel

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Made with certified organic ingredients, Juice Beauty makes high end products without the exorbitant price, well too exorbitant. We were sent two Juice Beauty products to try:
Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel - Full Strength

A powerful hydroxy-acid complex of certified organic apple, lemon, grape juices, raw cane sugar and white willow bark dissolve and free dull, lifeless skin for visibly improved skin tone and texture. Vitamin antioxidants and essential nutrients hydrate and nourish fresh skin for a healthy, beautiful complexion.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer
Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer contains a proprietary blend of organic fruit stem cells and powerful Vitamin C to help decrease DNA damage and accelerate cellular proliferation.
Fruit stem cells penetrate deeply into the skin and encourage cellular repair while potent Vitamin C promotes collagen production and renewed skin elasticity
.

Juice Beauty consistently receives low hazard scores (one to three) from the Environmental Working Group. These are great products from a company you can trust! All of the products are made in the USA.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 12, 2011

Really Natural Pets: Planet Dog Orbee Balls

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Have you been in a pet store lately? The amount of plastic junkie toys for our pets is just as bad as what is designed for our children. Fortunately, Planet Dog to the rescue!

Since incorporating in 1997, we have been known as the industry's leading socially responsible, values-based design house, bringing people and dogs together for fun and mutual support....

Our mission is to amuse, explore, support, innovate, create, educate, celebrate and philanthropate... all in the name of the dog. We "romp the romp" by providing financial resources to those in need, educating consumers about canine-related issues, creating an array of non-toxic and recyclable products, and keeping the tails of "our pack" wagging.


We were sent two great Planet Dog balls!

These are great dog balls: very sturdy, easy to throw, easy to retrieve! My dogs love them (so do my kids).

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 9, 2011

Really Natural Beauty: Hugo Naturals Dual Action Sea Fennel and Passionflower Deodoran

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Deodorant is somewhat a necessity of life, but unfortunately many of the big name brands are full of toxic substances that are particularly concerning for breast cancer. Finding a natural deodorant that works can be a challenge.

Hugo Naturals, Sea Fennel & Passionflower Deodorant is a unique blend perfect for sensitive skin.

Dual-Action Formula Our powerful formula helps keep you fresh all day long. We've formulated our deodorant with powerful anti-microbial ingredients that help stop odor causing bacteria, while leaving out propylene glycol, alcohol and aluminum. Gentle yet effective, our rich deodorant contains rice powder to help absorb perspiration. Non-irritating. Non-staining. Crafted from cruelty-free ingredients. Always free of artificial fragrances, artificial colors, parabens, petroleum products, and animal fats.

I love the smell of this deodorant!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 7, 2011

Really Natural Foods: Monte Bene Farm Fresh Vodka Pasta Sauce

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Vodka goes with tomato juice (think of a Bloody Mary) ,so why not include it in pasta sauce? Monte Bene Farm Fresh Vodka Pasta Sauce is a unique product made by an Italian born chef now living in and making sauce in New Jersey:

Ingredients: Tomatoes, Imported Italian San Marzano Tomatoes, Heavy Cream, Onions, Pecorino Romano Cheese (Sheep's Milk, Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Corn Starch, Cellulose), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Vodka, Salt, Basil, White Pepper, Black Pepper, Citric Acid.
As you can see from the ingredient list, there is not much Vodka in the sauce. My only criticisms are not with flavor, but earth friendliness. This product is not made from organically-grown ingredients, although it is gluten-free and natural, and our sample was shipped in a humungous box full of styrofoam peanuts.

 

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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