January 26, 2011

EVOLUTIONMAN Not Tested on Animals, Recyled Plastic Tubes

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Men's skincare options are often limited, and frankly, I am not sure why they can't use the same products targeted for women if they are not fragranced. EVOLUTIONMAN has got men and the environment in mind with their line of skincare and grooming products:

We are proud that all of our recyclable tubes are made with post-consumer recycled materials. Our boxes also use paper generated from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and bear the SFI logo. The EVMAN Bag is hand-made from recycled tires, right here in the United States. This is proof positive that environmental can be stylish.

We sampled 6 EVMAN products (and darn it, not the recycled tire bag!):

  1. EvolutionMan Lip Balm SPF 15

  2. EvolutionMan Cleanse & Shave

  3. EvolutionMan Wash & Buff - Facial Exfoliating Cleanser

  4. EvolutionMan Revitalize Eye Gel

  5. EvolutionMan Moisture Protect SPF 20 - Bronze

  6. EvolutionMan Moisture Protect SPF 20

Since I was sent only small samples (other than the lip balm), I am not privy to a full list of product ingredients (although the EVMAN website does identify "key" ingredients). The Environmental Working Group has not evaluated EVMAN, but the company assures:
We have also worked closely with our labs to ensure that we are using the friendliest ingredients for maximum function. Our products do not contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, dyes, GMOs, triclosan, camphor, formaldehyde donors, most don't contain silicones, and our Moisture Protect uses Titanium Dioxide to naturally block the sun's UVA/UVB rays. Our ingredient listings currently state fragrance - menthol is the only fragrance used in our products.

The lip balm I was sent does fully list the ingredients. I looked up PHENOXYETHANOL on Skin Deep, which is used as a preservative. It received a hazard score of four.

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

January 24, 2011

Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment

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I love neuroscience! I think it is really fascinating, and this science of the brain is finally catching up to what humans have known for centuries.

I recently attended a conference in which neuroscience backed up traditional methods of natural parenting. Now, Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Villoldo combine neuroscience with spiritual practice in their new book Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment:

The quest for enlightenment has occupied mankind for millennia. And from the depictions we've seen--monks sitting on meditation cushions, nuns kneeling in prayer, shamans communing with the universe--it seems that this elusive state is reserved for a chosen few. But now, neuroscientist David Perlmutter and medical anthropologist and shaman Alberto Villoldo have come together to explore the commonalities between their specialties with the aim of making enlightenment possible for anyone.

Joining the long-separated worlds of science and spirit, Perlmutter explores the exciting phenomena of neurogenesis and mitochondrial health, while Villoldo brings his vast knowledge of shamanic and spiritual practices to the table. Together they draw from the most powerful tools in each discipline to create the Power Up Your Brain program, a ground-breaking, five-week plan that helps prime the brain for enlightenment. With nutritional advice, dietary supplements, physical exercise, shamanic practices, meditation, and visualizations, Perlmutter and Villoldo guide readers, step by step, through a program to help them clear their minds from previous trauma and open themselves up to experience the inner peace, vast insight, and extraordinary creativity that define the experience of enlightenment, paving the way to successfully face the challenges to come.


Of course, the authors recommend, "Choose as many organic foods as possible." The connection between chemicals, food, and our brains cannot be ignored, whether seeking spiritual enlightenment or just optimum health.

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

January 21, 2011

H2O Plus Skincare Uses the Nourishing Power of Milk and the Sea

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Made in the USA and opposed to animal cruelty, H2O Plus skincare products use milk proteins and sea minerals to improve your skin.

Stress, sun and dehydration all take their toll on the skin. There is no single cause of aging and the signs that reveal themselves in our skin. But while aging is an inevitable part of life, the damage to your skin doesn't have to be.

As we grow older, the biochemical processes that repair and regenerate cells begin to break down. The rate of this degeneration is mainly determined by our genetic makeup. At the same time, our skin is exposed to tissue damage caused by free radicals, particles that are created by normal metabolism but also by pollution and sun exposure. Antioxidant ingredients in many skin care products help fight free radical damage to nourish and protect the skin. Thankfully, sea-derived skincare brand H20 Plus provides a solution.

We tried the following H20 Plus products:

  • H2O Plus Milk Body Lotion
    A luxurious, nourishing body lotion that helps replenish depleted moisture, soften skin, and improve elasticity. (#466) Rich in concentrated milk proteins and milk lipids, this body lotion replenishes depleted moisture and strengthens skin while drenching it with wholesome goodness. Nourishing vitamins A, D, E, Provitamin B and natural oils help improve skin texture and elasticity. Milk proteins add a glossy sheen while binding high levels of moisture.
  • H2O Plus Milk Hand and Nail Cream
    A must-have treatment for hardworking hands, this hand cream soothes and heals while promoting healthy cuticles and nails. Essential vitamins protect hands from environmental exposure and maintain essential moisture balance. The soft aroma of our classic Milk scent, a blend of lily, jasmine, melon and cucumber, provides a fresh, clean and delicate scent.
  • H2O Plus Milk Shower Gel
    A luxurious, foaming shower gel enriched with milk proteins and lipids to moisturize and soften the skin while gently cleansing. (#465) Used in the shower or as a luxurious bubble bath, this silky shower gel contains Vitamins D, E and Provitamin B to restore moisture balance, soften skin, and aid in tissue repair while cleansing.
  • H2O Plus Sea Results Overnight Perfecting Peel
    A liquid peel formulated to revitalize and smooth skin's surface, this high performance treatment delivers balanced tone and clarity, prevents clogged pores and potential breakouts, all while revitalizing and brightening dull complexions. Reveals a softer, more youthful you.

Some of these products do contain sodium laureth sulfate, which is "naturally" derived, but can cause skin irritation. It is an ingredient I try to avoid in beauty products (makes a great engine cleaner though).

H2o Plus products receive hazard scores from four to eight on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetic database. From cancer to organ system toxicity, some of the company's ingredients are a cause for concern.

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

January 19, 2011

As Seen on Entourage: Avion Tequila Made from Blue Weber Agave

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The first time I heard of Avion Tequila was on the HBO series Entourage. I didn't realize it was a real product until I was sent a bottle.  This tequila is made from one of the world's finest agaves.

Tequila Aviõn is produced with only the finest Blue Weber Agave found in the highest regions of Jalisco, Mexico. Higher elevation and topography creates more stress on the plants which in turn leads to more depth and character in the tequila. The plants found in this region are known to be the most coveted plants for tequila production due to their rich mineral content and distinct quality and character. Once harvested, the Tequila Aviõn agave is slow roasted in brick ovens under low temperatures, producing a more rich and robust flavor.

There are many delicious cocktail recipes that can be made with Avion.
Refreshingly Citrus Cocktail

Ingredients

1.5 oz Tequila Avion
.5 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.5 oz Fresh Lime juice
1 oz Simple Syrup

Method

In a cocktail shaker Muddle 5 mint leaves
add Ice and build all ingredients Shake until ice cold and frothy
Serve over fresh ice, garnish with a Mint leaf and lemon Twist


As far as the eco-friendly characteristics of this tequila, it is made naturally with traditional methods. Of course, the glass bottle is recyclable. I am not aware of other sustainable practices.  

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

January 17, 2011

Eco Clean Cleaning Products and Hand Soap Made in Denmark

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Eco Clean products are biodegradable and free of petro-chemicals:

The Eco Clean Collection reflects this greener scheme of things and adheres to the need of perfecting homes with safe and eco-conscious cleaning products. Eco Clean is an indigenous Denmark cleaning product range made from pure, local Danish ingredients available at a shockingly reasonable price. Made from Danish sugar beets, Eco Clean is a sustainable, renewable, readily biodegradable resource that comes from farms on the island of Falster.

When looking through the ingredients list on the hand soap, I don't exactly believe the above quote, as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is the second ingredient after water. SLS is often considered a natural ingredient, as it is derived from coconut, but it is still a concerning ingredient. Furthermore, I don't believe that coconuts grow in Denmark. The hand soap also contains chemical colorants like CI 74160 and CI 16255.

We received the following products from Eco Clean:
  • Eco Clean Kitchen Countertop Cleaner, Orange and Rosemary
    This new cleaner is specifically developed for the kitchen and contains our ACTIVE ECO BOOSTER to clean more efficiently and effectively. Non-Toxic, Biodegradable Kitchen Countertop cleaner can be used on all kinds of stove tops, sinks, tiles, cabinets, and all kinds of surfaces like ceramics, marble, glass, granite and vinyl Safe to use around Children and Pets. Does not harm your skin or the environment. Scented with essential oils to leave your kitchen smelling heavenly. Free of Petro Chemicals, Bleach, Ammonia and Phosphates. This product is not tested on animals.
  • Eco Clean Hand Wash, Lavender
    Extra Gentle Hand Wash for frequent use. Leaves your hands clean, soft and delicately fragranced. Allergy Friendly fragrance. Mild to your skin. Paraben Free. Biodegradable. This product is not tested on animals.
  • Eco Clean Glass Cleaner, White Tea and Sage
    This new cleaner contains our ACTIVE ECO BOOSTER for a sparkling clean and streak free shine. Non-Toxic, Biodegradable Glass cleaner can be used on all glass surfaces such as mirrors, windows, automobile windscreens, TV screens, appliances and even glass and stainless steel. Safe to use around Children and Pets. Does not harm your skin or the environment. Scented with essential oils. Free of Petro Chemicals, Bleach, Ammonia and Phosphates. This product is not tested on animals.
  • Eco Clean Toilet Cleaner, Cool Mint
    This new cleaner contains our ACTIVE ECO BOOSTER to clean more effectively and efficiently. Non-Toxic, Biodegradable Toilet cleaner has a superior cleaning action and removes dirt and limescale from ceramic and porcelain. Safe to use around Children and Pets. Does not harm your skin or the environment. Scented with essential oils to leave your bathroom smelling clean and fresh. Free of Petro Chemicals, Bleach, Ammonia and Phosphates. This product is not tested on animals.
  • Eco Clean Bathroom Cleaner, Lavender and Mint
    This new cleaner contains our ACTIVE ECO BOOSTER to clean more efficiently and effectively. Non-Toxic, Biodegradable Bathroom cleaner can be used on all kinds of marble, tiles, sinks, taps, floors, toilets and bathtubs. Safe to use around Children and Pets. Does not harm your skin or the environment. Scented with essential oils to leave your bathroom smelling amazingly fresh. Free of Petro Chemicals, Bleach, Ammonia and Phosphates. This product is not tested on animals.
I have to disagree that SLES is allergen-free, as my own son gets eczema from it. Lot of "natural" companies use it, but I am not sure why Eco Clean uses chemical colorants.


Eco Clean's name may imply they are completely green, and I am thankful they disclose their ingredients; however, just examining the hand soap alone causes concern. The cleaners may be more natural, but I can't help but feel cautious with this line.

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

January 12, 2011

Kids' Garden: 40 Fun Indoor and Outdoor Activities and Games

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Kids' Garden: 40 Fun Indoor and Outdoor Activities and Games is fun deck of large cards with great ideas to get your child outside (or bring outside in).

Get outside and grow with some child-friendly fun with gardening! Kids Garden includes forty activities and games and an eight-page booklet that contains information on gardening tools, year-round plant care and garden safety. These step-by-step instructions are enhanced by colorful collage artwork on each double-sided card and they create a fun and easy way for budding green-thumbs to plant, investigate, learn and experiment.

I strongly believe gardening should be part of every child's education, both at home and at school. Not only does gardening teach children about the natural world, it improves their nutrition and willingness to try new fruits and vegetables.   Products like this one help give you ideas and motivate families.  

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

January 10, 2011

Eco-Friendly Spirits: Puerto Rican DonQ Rum's Green Initiatives

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Nothing is more refreshing than a mojito, and you don't have to feel green guilt if you use DonQ Rum in your mix. DonQ has been produced in Ponce, Puerto Rico since 1865. This very old, family-owned American business is on its way to being 100% sustainable.

We approach sustainability as the challenge of finding ecologically responsible solutions within the context of an economically viable enterprise. Our waste reclamation program not only allows us to maximize our production capacity, it provides valuable energy return and cost reductions in the form of Biogas, electricity, service water, and industrial products that we can sell to other businesses. All this while we do what's best for the vibrant ecosphere of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Sea.

I applaud all of DonQ's green efforts, and there is a lot of information available on their website, including this chart.
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And here's the recipe for a delicious mojito:

dash......................................................SUGAR
1 1/2 oz.......................................................LIME JUICE
5......................................................CRUSHED MINT LEAVES
1 1/2 oz.......................................................DONQ CRISTAL
Crush mint leaves with sugar,rum and lime juice, shake well, add ice and a splash of club soda.
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

January 7, 2011

Made in France: BPA-Free Glass Reusable Water Bottle with Silicone sleeve

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The search for the best reusable water bottle has ended! Lifefactory Beverage Bottle is made of glass, the safest container for your beverages. The lid is plastic, but fortunately it is BPA-free plastic. The glass bottle is protected from breakage with a silicone sleeve that is dishwasher safe.

  • Glass beverage bottle with 22-ounce capacity protected by stylish silicone sleeve in green
  • Glass does not add a chemical or metal taste to your beverage
  • Patent pending silicone sleeve provides a great gripping surface and helps to prevent breakage
  • Wide mouth bottle makes it easy to add ice, citrus slices and tea bags
  • Both bottle and silicone cover are dishwasher safe
Lifefactory creates innovative, non-toxic products that make it easy to lead a healthy and eco-conscious lifestyle. They fuse modern sensibility, eco-friendly composition, and exceptional utility to produce a glass beverage bottle that is free of known harmful chemicals such as BPA, phthalate, PVC, and polycarbonate. All materials are FDA approved. The unique patent pending silicone sleeve is free of plastics, 100% non-toxic, provides a great gripping surface and helps prevent breakage. The benefit of using a glass beverage bottle is that there is no risk of chemicals leaching into your drink and no metallic taste. The widemouth bottle design makes it easy to add ice, citrus slices, tea bags, etc. Beverage bottles are easy clean and dishwasher safe (the glass bottle and silicone sleeve can also be washed together in the dishwasher)

I recently bought a Lifefactory bottle for every member of my family: no metal taste, no plastic safety concerns. I like that the bottle is made in France (the silicone sleeve is from China). I really love our bottles!  Staying hydrated is the single most important thing we can do for our bodies and minds. A safe vessel for beverages is crucial. I am so happy I found Lifefactory!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 4, 2011

Which eBook Reader is best? DO NOT BUY NOOK!

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Last year for Christmas, my daughter received a Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader. She has read over a hundred books on her Nook. I wish I could say this has been a trouble free experience, but NOOK is not worth the money.

Ebook readers certainly are environmentally-friendly when you consider how much paper is saved; however, the electronic components and energy used in production do not balance out saved paper if the device is buggy and ultimately fails.

Our first Nook was a constant source of frustration. Regularly books would not open and have to be sideloaded. A few times the device simply got stuck and had to be restored to factory defaults. Software updates are usually buggy and do not solve the problems. Then after eight months, our Nook got a crack in the outer bevel case. Barnes and Noble shipped us a new one. Five months later, the e-ink screen has failed on the replacement device.

Our warranty has expired just days ago, and Barnes and Noble will do nothing for us. We are left with a worthless device. It has been nothing but trouble from the beginning, when you had to go to a store to actually register and use the device. I am extremely disappointed with Nook and Barnes and Noble.  I will no longer support this bookstore chain.  A little bit of internet research and you will discover how buggy these devices are.

I will not be buying a replacement device. The Nook is slow, and even though you get used to sideloading, it isn't always possible when traveling. Looks like a Kindle is in our future, now that we are hooked on eReaders.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 31, 2010

Honey Stinger Natural, Organic Energy Bars, Waffle Cookies, and Chews

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There are a lot of energy foods on the market. Most of them, in my opinion, leave much to be desired in consistency and flavor. Energ G has introduced a new line of energy snacks made from 100% organic honey.


  • Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews
    Ingredients: Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Grape Juice Concentrate, Organic Honey, Pectin, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Color (Black Carrot Juice Concentrate [red], Annatto Seed Extract (Orange), Natural Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Organic Sunflower Oil, Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera) Wax

  • Honey Stinger Stinger Waffle
    Lance Armstrong helped develop the nutrient-packed, great-tasting Stinger Waffle with his company Honey Stinger, to provide organic energy bars to non-European cyclists. Based on the bars Lance encountered while competing in Europe, this sweet, 3.5-inch diameter waffle packs an energetic punch with its 100% USDA Certified Organic Ingredients. With 160 calories in a 30g waffle, you can easily stuff a couple of these in your jersey pockets and have a tasty snack when you need it most.

  • Honey Stinger Protein Bar Dark Chocolate Mint
    A smaller size version of the 20g Protein Bar, the Honey Stinger Protien Bar (10g) is a truly great-tasting meal replacement snack or after workout recovery bar. Honey Stinger protein bars are gluten free and contain no trans fats. This protein bar is truly unique in that is includes 30% USDA certified organic honey, 10 grams of whey protein (20% of the daily recommended allowance), 22 vitamins and minerals, calcium and antioxidants.

My favorite of the Honey Stinger products is the waffle cookie. It does taste like the Stroop waffle cookies I adore. I am not a big fan of the other products. I do not like gummy, chewy treats, and the mint was really strong in the energy bar.  Although my breath felt fresh after eating it, the minty flavor lasted a long time as I tasted the other products.  

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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