May 20, 2011

Soap Hope: 100% of Profits Lift Women from Poverty (at least for a year)

Shopping is a necessity of modern life (overconsumerism is not), but it does not have to be so evil as profits can be used for good. Soap Hope has exactly that mission in mind targeting women living in poverty:

Women! Women are the key to ending poverty. Women save more, invest more, and are more likely to use their earnings to educate their children and break the cycle of poverty. Soap Hope creates a wonderful connection between successful women and developing women: successful women buy our products, and developing women use our programs to lift themselves from poverty.

Following the "Good Returns" model, 100% of Soap Hope's profits support healthcare, education,water, and opportunity for women.
It's simple: every dollar of profit earned by a Good Returns company goes first to an institution that uses it to solve world problems. After those profits have spent a year in service, the money is returned to Soap Hope. It's like the Peace Corps for money: we volunteer every dollar for a year of service.

Heart and Mind. Soap Hope is a for-profit company with a non-profit mission. We designed the Good Returns model on purpose to combine the best of the business and non-profit worlds. Soap Hope runs with the efficiency and power of a business - then uses the profits with the heart of a nonprofit.

I have to admit I don't quite understand how the money can be returned, unless it is a micro-loan situation like Kiva.

From Pangea Organics to biokleen, Soap Hope features great natural products from companies you can trust! If you need to shop online, Soap Hope helps you do so with a clear conscious that you are supporting women around the world.

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

May 13, 2011

Natural Poison Oak Remedies: Derma e Stop Itch

My son has recently been covered in an extensive poison oak rash. Lavender oil and tea tree oil have offered some relief, but I needed to find some other alternative to help deal with the itch, which is really hard to resist when you are six-years-old. Given my experience with the Derma e products we've been sent to review in the past, I purchased Derma E Stop Itch Instant Relief Cream.

Instantly relieve the discomfort of dry, itchy or irritated skin with this soothing, cooling and calming crème. This instant itch relief lasts for hours and works for all types of itching associated with dry skin, insect bites, poison oak, ivy or sumac, and itching from unknown causes. Formulated with derma e®'s unique herbal complex featuring Oat Extract, Chamomile, Chickweed, Evening Primrose Oil and Calendula Oil to provide long-lasting moisture and soothing itch relief. It is also infused with Peppermint Oil for a cooling calming sensation.

Last night when my son was scratching his arm incessantly in his sleep, I smeared some Stop Itch on his arm. The relief was instant, and he was able to go back to restful dreams.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 11, 2011

Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix

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I've been a vegetarian since I was 16-years-old. I am not one of those people who feels they need fake meat products, so I always approach such reviews with some trepidation.
Harmony Valley Vegetable Hamburger Mix is a soy based mix that is vegan, but full of ingredients that are potential allergens like wheat gluten and soy protein.

Harmony Valley is determined to revolutionize the meatless category, presenting the convenience of a dry mix that is versatile, healthy, delicious and supports sustainability. The dry Vegetarian Hamburger Mix and Vegetarian Breakfast Sausage Mix create the perfect vegetarian replacement for ground meat. Consumers have a meat substitute at their fingertips to incorporate into any recipe, instead of just one option, which is often the case with other meat replacement products. Harmony Valley products are all convenient and easy to use, as the main preparation required is adding water. Take the vegetarian mix off the shelf, and simply hydrate for health and harmony.

"From devoted vegetarians to flexitarians and those simply seeking a healthier option, we believe this contest will attract a variety of personalities, which is reflective of the versatility of our brand," says Dan Berlin, partner at Harmony Valley. A flexitarian himself, Berlin adds that once people discover the great flavor of Harmony Valley, located in the dry food areas versus the freezer where many meat substitutes are placed, they won't go back.

It is a convenient mix to take camping or backpacking, but I prefer nut burgers to soy-based ones. I also think this mix makes a better crumble fake ground beef, like for tacos, than a burger patty.

This product is not organic. It is made with wind power, and the packaging has a recycling symbol with the number 7, but good luck finding a place to actually recycle it.

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

May 6, 2011

Really Natural Books: Nutrition at Your Fingertips

Nutrition at Your Fingertips by Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN is a handy dandy reference book. From weight management to trace minerals, everything related to nutrition is explained.

"Nutrition at Your Fingertips covers all the basics, from what happens if you eat too little fat to the safest way to defrost food. It also includes helpful charts that provide readers with must-have information, such as which foods contain key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, along with their benefits and a breakdown of food label terms. It's the kind of resource people can go back to over and over again."
-Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, New York Times bestselling author

This book contains information useful for vegetarians and omnivores alike, as well as those requiring special diets like diabetics and celiacs. Food sources for vitamins are displayed in easy to read charts, as well as the BMI index for adults. One of the items I found most surprising is that my cup of espresso actually contains about half the caffeine of a cup of brewed coffee!

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

May 4, 2011

Easy Hardwood Floor Cleaning with Refillable, Reusable Microfiber Bona Spray Mop

I have four dogs and two kids. My floors get dirty immediately after cleaning. I don't want to always have to fill up a bucket and mop. I once tried the Swiffer Wet Jet, but I hated the disposable pads, batteries that always died, and the chemical cleaner. I would try to reuse the Swiffer bottles by filling them with something less toxic, but even with channel locks, the lids would not come off without ruining them.

Bona Hardwood-Floor Spray Mop with Replaceable Cleaner Cartridge is a much greener solution. It comes with a microfiber mop pad that washes easily in the washing machine. It requires no batteries, as the spray is triggered with a hand pump. The bottle lids unscrew normally, so you can refill it with any floor cleaner you want to use. You can even buy the Hardwood Floor Cleaner in one gallon size for refilling the cartridge.

An effective, environmentally responsible, and non-toxic formula for all types of residential hardwood floors. Specially designed to be safe for floors, families, and the environment.
 I love the convenience of our Bona mop! I also like the flexibility I have to use any cleaner in the mop.  My only complaint is I wish I had another microfiber pad to use while the other one is washing. 

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 29, 2011

Really Natural Books: The Way of the Happy Woman

The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life by Sara Avant Stover is an inspirational book for any woman and would make a nice Mother's Day gift.

Our ancestors adhered to the daily, seasonal, and yearly rhythms of nature by necessity, but modern life overrides these cycles, compromising women's health and happiness.

In this book, Sara Avant Stover shows how simple, natural, and refreshingly accessible practices can minimize stress and put us back in sync with our own cycles and those of nature. When we honor spring's seedlings, summer's vibrancy, fall's harvest, and winter's quietude, we harmonize our inner and outer worlds.

Sara's suggestions nurture the body, invigorate the mind, and lift the spirit. Illustrated yin and yang yoga sequences, one-day season-specific retreats, enticing recipes, and innovative self-reflection techniques make it easy to reconnect with the essential.

I especially appreciate the seasonal yoga sequences and recipes. In fact, I plan to make the quinoa and roasted asparagus tabouli today!  Asparagus season has begun in my garden!

This book is all about treating yourself right, and Sara even shows you how to find the time to do so. It's not about pampering, which implies decadent luxury. It's about nurturing your body and spirit.

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

April 27, 2011

Really Natural Beauty: Exfoliate Naturally with derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub

We love derma e and were very excited to try derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub. Cruelty-free, paraben-free, eco-friendly, not tested on animals,'s everything you would expect from derma e.

A salon skin treatment alternative. Exfoliant. Derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub immediately improves your skin's appearance by utilizing a crystal blend system to remove dead skin cells in this safe and effective formula. Markedly diminishes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars. Retexturizes skin and leaves it silky smooth. This product uses Aluminum Oxide as part of the crystal blend system. Because it is the crystal and is only on the skin for several minutes, there is no absorption. No animal testing. Made in USA.

I appreciate derma e's full disclosure of ingredients, including the aluminum.

derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub really does exfoliate! You can feel the dead skin being removed as you use it. A gentle touch should be used; if you scrub too hard it may make your face feel raw. A slight citrusy smell accompanies this scrub leaving your skin feeling refreshed and new. It is recommended this product be used twice a week.

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

April 25, 2011

Really Natural Books: The Moral Lives of Animals

The consumption of and treatment of animals is often justified on the belief that they do not possess the same mental capabilities as humans, especially morality. As a child, my own experiences with pets taught me differently and was probably the first step towards my choice to be a vegetarian. 

The animal brain varies by species and may not be exactly the same as humans; however, Dale Peterson explores the behaviors and values of animals in his new book The Moral Lives of Animals.

"Cooperative hyenas, scorekeeping impalas, heroic rats--humans are not the only creatures with a code of ethics. Dale Peterson of Tufts University argues that animals across many species exhibit behaviors that reveal evolutionary continuity between us and them. The rules and values Homo sapiens shares with other species provide a basis for Peterson to speculate about the future of our relationship with our fellow fauna."--Scientific American "Recommended Books" column

Peterson even explores sexual relationships, as humans are not the only ones to copulate for pleasure or engage in homosexuality. Evidence for such behavior is found in Bonobos.

I've witnessed moral behavior amongst my dogs. When we recently added a puppy to the pack, one dog took it upon herself to protect the pup whenever her sibling was mean to the new pup. It surprised us all to see her take a stand against her sister, whom she is extremely close to in order to protect the puppy.

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

April 22, 2011

Dr. Hauschka Daily Body Care Kit: Holistic Skin Care You Can Trust

Dr. Hauschka is my most favorite, trusted brand of beauty care products. This German company has been making holistic products since 1967, before it became trendy and simply a marketing term. The company was founded on the real Dr. Hauschka's mission "to heal humanity and the earth." This may be a noble goal for a skincare company, but once you try these products, you understand.

Dr. Hauschka Daily Body Care Kit

This handy tin features six products that soothe, nurture and renew skin: Hand Cream, Lavender Bath, Quince Body Moisturizer, Rose Body Moisturizer, Lemon Lemongrass Body Oil and Rose Body Oil.

  • A selection of Body Care products to soothe, nurture and renew

  • A great introduction to the Dr.Hauschka Body Care range

  • Perfect for travel, providing holistic body care on-the-go.

  • Features a selection of holistic products beneficial to all skin conditions

 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

April 20, 2011

Eco Bags Wine and Gift Bags: Recycled, Fair Wage, Fair Labor

We get a lot of reusable shopping bags sent to us for review, and by far, my favorites are made by EcoBags. EcoBags motto is "Clean up the planet one bag at a time". Unlike many reusable bags made of synthetic materials, Eco Bags are made of recycled cotton. They wash easily and can be customized easily with silkscreens or paints.

We are really excited about the EcoBags wine bag and gift bags! They are a great alternative to paper bags. Given their solid construction, they are sure to be reused over and over again.

ECOBAGS Canvas Wine Bag

Looking for a thoughtful way to present a gift of organic wine? Our rustic wine tote is made of a 100% recycled cotton canvas with double-stitched seams and sturdy handles to make sure your carefully chosen spirit arrives safe, sound and spectacular-looking!

ECOBAGS Embroidered Gift Bag
Our recycled cotton "Celebrate!" tote is the perfect alternative to disposable wrapping paper this holiday season. It adds a classy, eco-friendly flair to your gift and will live on for 100's of uses! This set contains three natural color bags embroidered with beautiful Silver, Ocean Blue and Forest Green thread and constructed with 100% recycled cotton and double-stitched seams for maximum durability.

I absolutely love these bags!

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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