Monday, February 27, 2012

Clean Food Challenge- Last Call

Are you stocked up and ready?  We are starting on Thursday, March 1st!

So far the blogs involved are:
& here @ the naptown organizer

Again, if you don't have a blog but still want to participate in the challenge, I will try to add a daily post and you can add your comments/experiences of how you are doing into the comments of that post.

Anyone else want their blog in?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plug your noses...

Because I'm going to talk about natural deodorants.  If you don't like hearing about stinky 'pits, then this probably isn't your post!  For those not faint of heart, read on, my friends...

I've had issues with getting the sweats (and not the comfy kind you wear while laying on your couch) since I was in middle school.  I am a carbon copy of my dad in looks and genes, and it shows in my sebaceous glands.  When I was younger I used to giggle because after a long day of working on the car, he would come in with a face and shirt full of sweat, and his shirt would often look like a heart pattern in the way he sweat.  Then I got older and realized I had those genes too.  Ugh.  I've tried just about every deodorant product out there, including women's deodorant, men's deodorant, certain dri, and even those patches you can put under your arms on your clothes that absorb the sweat so you don't have sweat spots in your clothes.  My main problem had been, all of these deodorants with their harsh chemicals had been really damaging my underarm skin.

So I decided to make a switch.

Since the CVS down the street from us carried Tom's of Maine products, I thought I'd give those a try.  I really like the Tom's brand (I've previously tried their toothpastes, mouthwashes, and soaps, and liked how they list all their ingredients on the package and on their website).  So I picked out two deodorants of theirs to try.

The first was Tom's long lasting 24 hour odor protection in lemongrass, above.  
The second was Tom's long lasting 24 hour odor protection in apricot, below.

I used these deodorants for probably a few months, alternating between the two, with no trouble and a nice scent on both of them.  While these ingredients were certainly better than those of deodorants like Secret or others with harsh chemicals, they really worked just like all of the regular deodorant brands.  The problem was, that after a month or two, I started to notice I was having the same problems I had with previous deodorants: red, scaly, bumpy skin underneath my arms, that was very uncomfortable.  So, I did what any crunchy mama does, I followed the advice of my fellow tree huggers and tried crystal deodorant.

Crystal deodorant was a new concept to me, I had never heard of it before I had trouble with the Tom's deodorants above.  Basically, crystal deodorant is made of natural mineral salts that form a barrier on the skin so that bacteria cannot form and create odor.  Typical deodorants usually just rely on scents to mask the odor that had already been produced.  (Again, I'm talking deodorant here, not antiperspirants)

After my run-in's with the Tom's deodorants above, I contacted the company and they very happily sent me replacement products of my choosing and requested that I send them the above deodorants that caused me the fierce dragon scale pits I described to them, as they apparently test the products that consumers complain about/get refunded for.  The new products they sent me out were:

This fragrance free natural crystal deodorant 
this 24 hour fragrance free sensitive deodorant.

While I have not had any reactions to the sensitive, fragrance free deodorant, I will say that I am 100% a crystal deodorant girl now.  I apply the crystal deodorant right after I take a shower at night and I do not have to apply it until the next night.  My underarm skin is the softest and least irritated it has been in years.  I have tried using the sensitive deodorant a few times recently, and all it feels is so sticky and gross.  The crystal deodorant dries within a few minutes and there is NO smell for 24 hours, which is a far cry from some of the other 'hippie' deodorants I've used, and even some of the other Tom's deodorants I've used.  While the crystal deodorant is not meant to cause less sweating overall (since it is not an antiperspirant), I was surprised to find that I have actually been sweating less since starting to use it.  Maybe it could be because of less chemicals irritating my skin?  

Tom's crystal deodorant is also a level 1 on the cosmetic database, which I try to use to rank the toxicity of all my products, and it is also only $3.59, which is actually less expensive than the $6 deodorant I was using before I switched to Tom's.  

Even if you don't decide to give crystal a try with it's five ingredients, when you go to put on your deodorant tomorrow morning, take a peek at the ingredients or go to the cosmetic database and see just what it is you are putting into your body, the answers may surprise you!  

( now, didn't that post surprise you in that I didn't say I'm a complete tree hugger who either doesn't wear deodorant or makes my own?  ....option number two may be coming soon! )

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Clean Food Challenge

We here in the United States eat a LOT of junk.  And by junk, I'm not just talking about fast food and junk food.  I'm talking about the foods we prepare for our family dinners, the snacks we eat to tide us over, the 'comfort foods' we love.  After reading a post from a fellow blogger and friend (Janice over @ about clean eating and talking to a few friends who are in weight loss journeys currently, I am posting a challenge.  Some of you may do this already, so you've got an easy job, keep doing what you're doing!  Some of you will find this challenge more difficult.  

Eat REAL food.  

That's right.  That's it.  For one week, I challenge you not to put anything in your mouth or in your tummy that has an ingredient that you don't recognize.  Now, you don't have to eat only raw foods or fresh foods.  It doesn't matter if the foods have some processing or not, so long as they are real foods.  Read the labels, only eat things that are real foods, and then either blog on it your blogs, or come here and comment on my daily posts to track how you are doing.  If you do blog, go ahead and add in the comments that you'd like to join, and I will post a roll call of all the blogs that are involved with links so that we can all read each other's posts off of this site.  Link it to your friends, your family, invite them to join too if you'd like.

It seems like a simple concept, right?  

Do you think you can do it?

Then join us, starting Thursday, March 1st, so get your fridges and your pantries ready!
This should be interesting!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Green Smoothies

I've been looking into doing smoothies for some time now for the kiddo, and let's be honest, I could use some good nutrients every so often too.  So, today I went a little crazy at the grocery store. 

 (*Side note, Dear Meijer, thank you for being so good to me and really branching out in your organics department.  I was able to find your brand of organic frozen fruit, in addition to your new knock off 7th generation line of cleaning products, which I was so excited about that I promptly spilled the dish soap all over the floor once I got home)

Anyway, I bought a ton of good stuff to put in the smoothies, including:
- frozen strawberries
- frozen blueberries
- frozen peaches
- frozen raspberries
- frozen spinach
- frozen mixed veggies (peas, carrots, and corn)
- frozen cauliflower (on the recommendation of a few online recipes I saw)
- kale
- bananas
- almond milk

I am not a cook, not by any means, so my previous tries at making things have not been greatly successful, however, I was pretty intrigued by how easy this could be, I mean you can't screw up a blender, right?  (Dear coworker bestie- if you are reading this I recommend that you pretend you don't remember how I lit the laminator on fire, just move on and pretend I can work a blender)  I didn't put in exact amounts per se, but more like a little of this and a little of that.  I know I did put in one banana, and probably a fourth to a half of a cup of all of the other ingredients.  I added probably 2-3 cups of almond milk and then a little more water to make it more runny, so that the kiddo would be able to get it out of his straw cup.

*Before you look at the amazingness that is below, please note that my kiddo drank half a glass of this before I could even snap a picture, I had to pry it out of his little hands to get a picture before he guzzled the whole thing, success!

I stored it in these Ball Jar Freezer Containers, which were really nice.  They are freezer safe, obviously, and are BPA free, which is important to me since my little guy will be drinking these.  The green cap containers are the perfect size to set out for the next day, and would be a good container size for me or DH to take with to work.  The blue size would fit a bunch of the little cup sizes, but that container got all I had left.  The nice thing about the containers it that they lock together, so the two sets that are standing atop the others below, are hooked together, so you won't create an avalanche of smoothies when you're trying to grab something else out of the freezer.

I read on Dr. Google that because there are bananas in these, they can go bad very quickly, like 1-2 days.  So, I stocked up on the freezer containers as I read you can keep them frozen for a week or even a few weeks at a time.  My guess is that we'll go through these a lot quicker than a few weeks.  But one batch did make about 7-8 of these containers.  I'll sneak in the veggies any way I can, and this technique was REALLY easy and tasted pretty good to me!

Organizing my grocery List

I've been playing around lately with how we organize our groceries.  Typically I have DH write down a list of what he wants, then I have a list of the weekly dinner recipes, and randomly placed pieces of paper with other items needed.  I decided to get organized and put all the little papers together on this  Weekly Grocery List .  I like the full page sheet because I can just tape a copy on top of my coupon folder for when I'm at the store, and that actually provides a nice little stand for the list.  I can leave the folder with the taped list in the baby seat part of the cart (while my son is happily tugging my hair in the sling!) and that makes it really easy for me to see.  I may fiddle with it a little bit to divide the groceries into sections, but for now this is what I am using.

(For whatever reason, the google docs version of the list is showing up in pink and blue colors, but when you download it, it is all green, just FYI)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A makeup and product review-

So recently I've been on a quest for natural hair, make up, and body care products.  I've done no-'pooing, I've switched to coconut oil for body lotion, and I have changed a lot of my make up.  But I recently found a make up company that I am in love with, so I thought I'd share.

The site is  The All Natural Face boasts vegan make up with 'no artificial ingredients... just pure and simple ingredients from the earth.'  The site lists all of the ingredients going into each item, and I felt great about finding something more clean for my body while getting a really great deal with their low prices!  I was also very pleasantly surprised that Crystal from The All Natural Face sends SO many samples with your order.  I ordered several trial sizes (which were awesome, the trials were only 35 cents each and lasted me for several weeks for some items!) and she sent me almost three to four times what I ordered in sample packs to try different colors of foundation in the same color families, eye shadows, lip gloss samples, and more!

Here are a few of their products that I tried:

1.  Porcelain Rose Vegan Foundation
This is a mineral foundation and I used my trusty Sephora synthetic make up brushes to apply.  Just as one of the reviewers on the site commented, I was REALLY happy to find a mineral foundation that was not brown or yellow based, and not too light.  The 'rose' aspect of the foundation makes it just slightly pink, which is perfect for my complexion.  I also found that I am now a complete convert to mineral make up.  I used tinted moisturizer for years because I thought my face was too dry for mineral make up.  I do have to moisturize quite a bit, but I find that a layer of coconut oil on my face before bed and then no wash before I apply the mineral make up in the morning keeps me looking great with no flaky dry skin all day.  I have bought additional orders of this product and will continue to, this is now my #1 foundation.

2.  Midas Vegan Concealer
This concealer is reported to 'cover dark circles' and boy does it ever.  Again, I am now SUCH a mineral convert!  I never thought a powder could cover my crazy dark circles (hey, I still have a one year old, I'm entitled!) but it actually does a better job than any previous concealer I've used (including smashbox, covergirl, revlon, physician's formula, almay, or any other brands I've tried) and it really does stay on all day long.  I can be up at 4:30a, work a 10 hour day, play with my kiddo for a few hours, and then after putting him to bed still have good coverage of the then-turned-into-bags under my eyes.

3. Wedding Day Vegan Mineral Glow
I use this over my foundation and blush.  It just gives you a dewy glow, and I am obsessed.

4. Vegan Blush Beautiful Mineral Blush in Cocoa
This blush is the PERFECT color!  It is just a great mix between a bronzer and a blush, not too brown or bronze-ish, but just enough color to imitate a warm look on my really pale face.  I am using up another blush I got for free with a gift card from another site, then I will be completely switching over to this.  I keep having to restrain myself from buying more before I'm done with the other site's blush because I love the cocoa so much!

5. Vegan Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara in All Natural Black
This was the first of their products that I didn't love.  But let me preface, I am a THICK eyelash kind of girl.  I won't leave the house without a full thick set of black lashes and dark eye liner.  I've also told my coworkers before that I want permanent eyeliner tattoo in my living will if I ever become a vegetable :)  Anyway, this mascara took at least three coats to even make it noticeable on my lashes, and my lashes are naturally a light brown color.  By the end of the day, I could barely see it.  I think I am going back to my Physician Formula Organic Wear Mascara.

6.  Vegan Mineral Eyeshadows, Matte, in Fawn & Smokey Purple
I am not a big color on my eyelids type of girl.  If I even wear eye shadow, it is brown, always.  So when Crystal sent me Smokey Purple, I was a little afraid.  But both shades I tried look fantastic, and stayed all day even better.  The fawn was just what I was used to and worked fine, but the Smokey Purple was a nice shade that wasn't near as dark as I thought it was going to be.  I may branch out on my next order and buy one of her wilder colors, because they are much more tame when actually applied.

7. Vegan Natural Gel Eyeliner in Swiss Chocolate and That Black
As I said before, I am an eyeliner girl.  And usually a pretty thick eyeliner girl.  This stuff, while it smelled great and didn't bother me at all when I actually poked myself in the eye with the brush, is not for me.  It consistently left raccoon lines on my upper eyelids as the day went on, and by the end of the day I had almost none left where I had applied it.  I think I will pass on this one and keep searching for a natural eye liner.

8. Clear Lip Gloss
LOVE!  This lip gloss is smooth, not sticky at all, and lasts forever.  I applied it before I went to bed one night and woke up with really smooth, soft lips, when the previous day they had been dry and flaky.  I will be ordering more of these, one for my car, one for work, one for the diaper bag, etc.

9. Vegan Perfume Oil in Sweet Citrus
I've been looking for a while now to add some sort of fragrance back in to my routine, but had completely sworn of colognes.  This perfume oil is made of natural, good stuff, and smells sweet.  I am now wearing this every day.

10.  Strawberries & Cream Face Food Fruit Facial Wash
This item came as another free sample from Crystal.  And it was amazing!  Maybe it was just because of my already growing obsession with coconut oil, but this product is two items mixed: dried strawberries and coconut oil, and I am loving it.  It is really nice smelling, and easy to mix with water to make a paste.  After washing and rinsing with this product, my face smelled wonderful and felt even better.  As someone with very dry skin, I am always looking for face washes that don't have harsh ingredient that dry me out.  This face wash actually left my skin feeling moisturized and soft.

So, there are my reviews of their products so far.  Overall, I give the company an A+, for several of their stand out items (like the Midas concealer) are so good that they far outweigh the bad.  And really, at $5.75 per eye liner stick that I didn't like, at those prices, and with the many options for free or very cheap samples, I'm not terribly disappointed that some of the products didn't work out.  If you are looking for some great, healthy make up and body products, check out

(Disclaimer- I was not compensated for, nor prompted to complete this review from theallnaturalface)

Friday, February 17, 2012

So here is my most recent attempt at organizing my life, a weekly cleaning schedule that I set up to fit my needs, because the ones I found on pinterest were not able to be modified.  Also, any tips for me to actually get the document in here instead of pressing the print screen button?

ETA:  Here's the linky for a google doc- Weekly Cleaning Schedule  
Again, formatting is a bit off on the google documents, but if you download it, it will look like the above picture.

Gettin' Started

Well hai there friends! :)  Thanks for coming to check out my blog here.  I'll be posting my random musings on mama-hood, the crunchy lifestyle, and being an organization super hero every so often.  Check back and you might catch something good :)
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