January 27, 2010

Natural Yoga Mat Made from Jute and Rubber

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Recently, I found myself in need of a yoga mat in order to take an unplanned class hours from my home. At a local health food store, I purchased the Gaiam Eco Conscious Jute Yoga Mat (Natural). This mat is costs about $37.00, and it smells wonderful fresh out of the packaging. I have an aversion to smell of new yoga mats, even ones that are PVC-free, but this yoga mat had the sweet smell of jute. The jute mixed with rubber also gives the mat a different texture that I preferred to traditional yoga mats the first time I tried it.

An eco-friendly alternative for your yoga practice, this mat from Gaiam is made of 100% jute, an earthy, natural and biodegradable fiber. The mat is constructed by meshing jute fibers with patented PER plastic, a phthalate-free plastic that is safer for the environment, as well as for the workers who manufacture it. Soft and lightweight, the Gaiam Jute Mat features a grippy, non-skid rubber bottom, ideal for all types of flooring. The mat is durable enough for machine-washing but will have a longer life span if hand washed.

My trust in Gaiam has faltered given the BPA scandal in their aluminum water bottles, but I do really like this yoga mat. It has replaced my regular mat in my daily practice.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 25, 2010

Natural Home Cleaning: Bissell Little Green

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I have an older car and live in the mountains, so the carpet inside takes quite a beating. I have tried carpet shampooers at car washes, but the smell of the cleaning products gags me, and it is inconvenient. When I saw the Bissell 1400-7 Little Green Multi-Purpose Compact Earth-Friendly Deep Cleaner, I wanted to try it.

What makes the Little Green environmentally-friendly? When I first saw it advertised as such, I suspected greenwashing. According to the manufacturer:

  • A compact, multipurpose cleaner that has been redesigned with a 95 percent reduction in PVC.
  • Manufactured with tanks made of polypropylene, a material that is more recycling-friendly.
  • The brush block is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic and the solution tank also contains parts made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.
  • All Styrofoam has been eliminated from the Little Green's packaging, and the carton and inner packaging are made from a minimum of 75 percent recycled corrugated materials.
  • The Little Green uses earth-friendly liquid cleaning formulas that do not contain any heavy metals, optical brighteners, phosphates, or dyes.
The Little Green does not heat the water, but you add hot water to its tank, which actually makes the unit more versatile for cold water applications. It worked very well at cleaning out my car upholstery, and even though it is not recommended by the manufacturer, I will use more natural clean products in the Little Green. 

Is it greenwashing? Probably not, and I am glad I purchased this product.  I only wish the cleaner it came with was truly natural.  
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 22, 2010

New Natural Hair Care from Aveda Light Elements: Texturizing Creme and Shaping Wax

Screen shot 2010-01-16 at 9.14.43 AM.pngI am a huge fan of Aveda's Light Elements line. It is perfect for any hair type! Aveda has just introduced two new products to this popular line:
Light Elements Texturizing Creme:

Weightless texture with light hold for all hair types.

  • Amur corktree and barley blend adds moisture to hair.

  • Organic beeswax and pullulan help provide light, flexible all-day hold.

  • Plant emulsifiers from jojoba and soy give the product a soft and creamy texture.

  • A blend of gamma oryzanol (from rice bran) and Sasa veitchii (bamboo) helps protect hair from UV damage.

  • Spicy-citrus aroma features certified organic mandarin, ginger and Australian sandalwood.

Light Elements Shaping Wax:
Weightless texture with firm, pliable hold for all hair types.

  • Organic beeswax and jojoba wax help provide unique pliability

  • Pine rosinate and pullulan help give all-day strong hold

  • Plant emulsifiers from coconut, jojoba and soy give the product a creamy texture

  • A blend of gamma oryzanol (from rice bran) and Sasa veitchii (bamboo) helps protect hair from UV damage

  • Spicy-citrus aroma features certified organic mandarin, ginger and Australian sandalwood.

I absolutely love both of these products.  The scents are wonderful, and they really improve the coarse texture of my hair and give it manageability. Aveda is committed to the environment, and these products are manufactured 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

January 20, 2010

Anti-Allergen, Organic Cotton Eco-Friendly Bedding by Allergy Luxe

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We spend a lot of time resting in our beds, so it only makes sense that we choose bedding products that are eco-friendly and better for our health. Exclusively made for Bed Bath & Beyond, Allergy Luxe Organic Pillowcases not only give you pesticide-free peace of mind, they also protect you from allergens like dust mites and pet dander.

This luxurious sheet set is made from certified pure organic cotton and promotes an eco-friendly lifestyle. The soft sheets are free of harmful chemicals and organic dyes, and has an anti-allergen barrier weave that protects the sheets against dust mite dander, pollen, pet dander and other allergens. 100% organic cotton with a 300 thread count.

This bedding is very soft, and at least part of the packaging is made from burlap rather than entirely plastic.


Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 18, 2010

Sturdy Organic Canvas Tote by Dandelion

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You can never have too many canvas bags when you are a parent. From shopping to simply carrying snacks and water bottles, a sturdy bag is key! The Dandelion Organic Canvas Tote is a great bag with many pockets.

Dandelion Organic Tote Bags are designed for eco-conscious Moms on-the-go. Developed with a Diaper Bag in mind, the totes have all the conveniences Mom needs including multiple pockets and pouches. Made with durable 100% Organic Cotton Canvas and feature Organic Cotton Rope shoulder straps. Environmental message printed with eco-friendly low-impact dyes. Outside features large pocket with snaps, 1 large open pocket and 2 elastic pouches.

Of course, you don't have to use it just for diapers. I think this will make a great bag for this busy teacher to carry things back and forth to school.


Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.


Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 15, 2010

New Variety of Apple: Piñata Heirloom Available in 2010

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Our grocery stores are filled with the same generic varieties of fruits and vegetables, when countless heirloom varieties are coveted by home gardeners. Not all agricultural producers are stuck in the same variety rut.  Stemilt Growers is introducing a new variety of apple: Piñata.

• The PIÑATA!® apple originated in the 1970's after researchers in Dresden- Pillnitz, Germany crossed the Golden Delicious, Cox's Orange Pippin and the Duchess of Oldenburg varieties. The apple was released commercially throughout Europe in 1986.
• In 2004, Stemilt Growers--a leading tree fruit company based in Wenatchee, Washington--trademarked the name Piñata. Stemilt holds the exclusive rights to grow and market this variety in the United States.
• Under its former names (Pinova and Sonata), Piñata was deemed "Apple of the Year" in Germany in 2001. In 2004, Stemilt renamed the variety Piñata, in order to tie-in the apple's given names with its exciting attributes.
• Piñata apples are stripy red over an orange background. A blend of high sugar and high acid levels give Piñata a special flavor. Crisp and juicy, Piñata has a classic apple flavor with a unique tropical twist.

The Piñata reminds me of a Pink Lady, one of my favorite varieties of apples, and my children really loved them. They are tangy and sweet, they are quite beautiful in appearance. They are available under the Artisan Organics label.


Personally, I am annoyed that heirloom varieties would carry a registered trademark. These varieties belong to the people of the world, not agricultural companies.  It shouldn't need legal protection or have exclusive rights.

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 13, 2010

Zero Calorie, Natural Stevia in the Raw Cup for Cup Replaces Sugar in Recipes

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I first heard about stevia from my secretary about ten years ago. At that time, it was available as a liquid extract, and I couldn't figure out how to use it in recipes. I'm not a huge fan of zero calorie sweeteners, and stevia has not been without controversy; however, Stevia Extract In the Raw may change my mind. You can use it cup for cup as you would sugar in any recipe.

Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is an herb in the compositae family that grows as a small shrub in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. The glycosides in its leaves make it incredibly sweet, a property that is unique among the nearly 300 species of stevia plants. Stevia has been used to sweeten beverages and medicines for over 400 years. A scientist named Antonio Bertoni first recorded its use by native tribes in 1887...

Unlike some of our competitors, Stevia Extract In The Raw does not use additional sweeteners such as erythritol (Truvia™) and isomaltulose and erythritol (PureVia™) to mask the natural sweetness of Reb-A Stevia Extract. The high purity level of our product eliminates any of the licorice-like aftertaste associated with less pure Stevia products currently in the market.

I am not sure how processed this stevia is compared to raw sugar, but it is much lighter in weight and the kids love it!

Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 8, 2010

BPA Free Baby: Plastic Bottles and Pacifiers by BornFree

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BornFree was one of the first companies to offer BPA-free baby products when news broke about this hazardous chemical. Not only are their products free from BPA, they are also free from PVC and phthalates. Two of our favorite BPA-free BornFree products are:


Babies need to be protected from chemicals; we all do:
Exposure to Bisphenol A is Widespread

  • Bisphenol A is most commonly used to make clear polycarbonate plastic for consumer products, such as baby bottles. Through use, this plastic breaks down and leaches bisphenol A into liquids and food to which it comes into contact.

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found bisphenol A in the urine of over 95% of people they tested.

  • Alarmingly, the median level of bi-sphenol A in humans is higher than the level that causes adverse effects in animal studies.

With my first child, I never used a pacifier and only used a bottle to try to feed her water when she was older. My son had health problems that required a bottle and pacifier while he was in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery, and unfortunately the hospital did not have BPA-free bottles or pacifiers. After his release, he was back to the breast only for his nourishment and comfort.

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 6, 2010

Instant Coffee made with Organic Gendarma Still Tastes Like Instant Coffee

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I am a coffee addict, snob, connoisseur, etc., so when I was approached to try "organic" instant coffee by OrGano Gold, I agreed with some trepidation. I was recently offered coffee at a friend's house and was served a cup of instant. I did not want to offend, so I grimaced and drank the "coffee".

OrGano Gold comes in several flavors, such as Black Gold, Mocha, and Latte, none of which resemble their true namesakes. Sure, they are a little better than Nescafe, but it is still instant coffee, and it is not even organic.

NOTE: Organo Gold coffee is not organic at this time, we are planning on introducing an organic version in the near future. All Organo Gold product contain 100% pure organic ganoderma.

The only coffee made with 100% certified ganoderma lucidum. Organo Gold Contains the most pure Certified Organic Ganoderma: A Red Mushroom that dates back over 4,000 years. Ancient generations prized this mushroom for its medicinal properties, promoting health and well-being.

Even when backpacking or traveling, I can't drink instant coffee. I carry a Mini Espresso Maker. I really can't sacrifice a good cup of joe for convenience sake.

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

December 30, 2009

Organic Crib Mattresses and Bedding by Natural Mat

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When I became pregnant with my first child over eight years ago, I searched high and low for a natural mattress. I feared flame retardants, and even though I planned to cosleep, I needed a crib for naps. Natural Mat makes organic, natural bedding and mattresses for cribs I wish would have been available back then.


The Coco Mat is the most breathable and natural organic crib mattress. It is filled with coir from the only certified organic coir plantation in the world. Coir is made from coconut husks which are coated in natural latex to make a supportive and breathable fibrous layer. The coir is then wrapped in our unique lambswool which is bathed in a mixture made from extracts of lavender, lemon and eucalyptus making it completely anti-dust mite as well as maintaining the excellant [sic] thermal insulating properties of natural wool.


Our organic cotton crib sheets are made from crisp 100% cotton percale.

The are unbleached and undyed. They are machine washable and dryable.

Both of these products are truly wonderful and every baby deserves such natural goodness for their restful times. It's worth the expense, considering how much time an infant spends sleeping. The quality of Natural Mat products is high, so you will be sure to use these products for several children and pass on to your friends.

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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