Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Naturalico Vitamin C Serum [Review]


A few years ago, I walked away from cosmetics. I threw away drugstore bought cosmetic products, except mascara, and began researching non-toxic options. I set my standard high. I wanted 100% all natural ingredients. I researched every product I considered buying and used EWG's Skin Deep Database to understand ingredients and their toxicity. In the past year, I have seen an increase in 100% natural products and their availability, especially online. Naturalico Vitamin C Serum is a natural way to improve the health and look of your skin.







Naturalico Vitamin C Serum       ($18.88)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
98% naturally derived ingredients
75% organic ingredients
Contains Phenoxyethanol as a preservative
Highest concentration of Vitamin C available

No filler ingredients or dilutions

Decreased wrinkles and sun spots


Vitamin C Serum is one of the hot skin care items on the market these days. The professional anti-aging serum is an affordable and easy way to reduce the visibility of wrinkles and improve the look of your skin. Using Vitamin C Serum on your face, neck and decolletage area results in:
  • Even skin tone
  • Increased glow and radiance
  • Quick absorption
  • Increased collagen production
  • Reduced fine lines and wrinkles
Naturalico Vitamin C Serum contains the highest concentration of Vitamin C available suspended in Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid plumps skin cells and protects and restores the skin. Vitamin C boosts the body's immune system and benefits the skin. Skin damage can be reversed through the careful selection of the ingredients.

The Vitamin C Serum is applied once daily in the morning or in the evening, before moisturizing. The application lasts up to 72 hours.

Naturalico Vitamin C Serum Ingredients:



The Vitamin C Serum contains 98% naturally derived ingredients and 72% organic ingredients. I would like to see the amount of organic ingredients be closer to 100%. Most of the ingredients have low to no toxicity based on EWG's Skin Deep Database. The Vitamin C Serum contains one ingredient that does pose toxicity to the body: Phenoxyethanol (4). Since the Vitamin C Serum contains water, a preservative is needed for shelf life. Otherwise, you would need to use the product within 1-2 weeks and a lot of it would go to waste.

I used the Vitamin C Serum for 2 weeks without any other anti-aging product applied to the face. My skin has wrinkles and dry spots.

My Results: Skin feels hydrated, softer and more moisturized. Skin did not require use of moiturizer. Wrinkles have smoothed out a little. I love the smell of the serum, which does go away after a couple of minutes.

Overall, I experienced good results after using Naturalico Vitamin C Serum for 2 weeks. I can use the Vitamin C Serum as a preventative measure to reduce future sun damage and wrinkles. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to naturally improve the look and feel of your mature and aging skin, Naturalico Glow Vitamin C Serum is a worthwhile investment.

Disclosure: I received the product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Banana Split Bars [Recipe]

I have been searching for healthy breakfast and snack recipes that are easy to make and can be adapted to whatever you have on hand. In attempt to do more cooking ahead of time and have breakfast and snack items already cooked, I have been trying different breakfast bars and granola bars.

Banana Split Bars are a great take on the traditional granola bar because they also work well as a breakfast bar. You can substitute additions (other dried berries, nuts, seeds, etc.) to change the flavor profile. You can a little bit of a nut butter and maple syrup for a sweeter and nuttier flavor.

Banana Split Bars

Yield: 12 servings
Bake time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients
1/3 cup dry quinoa + 1/2 cup water, or 1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup honey (can sub maple syrup)
1 tbsp coconut oil (can sub melted butter)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cherries (can sub other dried fruits, chopped)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (can sub other nuts)

Other Additions (some or all)
Hemp protein powder (1 tbsp)
Nutritional yeast (1 tbsp)
Flax meal (1 tbsp)
Chocolate chips (1/4 cup)

Directions
  1. Line an 8" square baking dish parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Combine quinoa and water in a pan. Bring to a boil over Medium-High heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes or until all of the liquid has almost been absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat, keep covered, and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let it cool. (You can cook the quinoa ahead of time)
  5. In a small bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. 
  6. To the bowl of quinoa, add mashed bananas, egg, honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. 
  7. Add the oats mixture to the quinoa banana mixture. Stir to combine.
  8. Mix in cherries, walnuts, and any other additions.
  9. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and push down into the corners. Smooth top to make even.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. 
  11. Place pan on wire rack and let cool completely.
  12. Cut into 16 bars. (You can refrigerate for 20 minutes before cutting.) Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
My favorite addition to this recipe was 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a great way to boost protein, fiber, amino acid count and mineral content of the foods that you create. It can be added to savory or sweet dishes. Nutritional yeast has a slight smell of cheese and tastes slightly salty. This makes it a great addition and seasoning to put inside of foods or sprinkle on top for a bit of added flavor. 

Nutritional yeast can also be used for baked goods and sweeter dishes. The flavor is not distinguishable so there is no need to worry about a sweet muffin tasting like cheese. I have been using nutritional yeast in my cooking and baking for several years. I liked the flavor, texture and quality of Sari nutritional yeast flakes and would purchase it.

Disclosure: This recipe was originally posted on All natural Katie. I received a sample of the product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. This post contains Affiliate links at no cost to you. I receive small compensation to help support this blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.
  


Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Original Sleep Sack - Kindersack [Review]

This post is part of the eco-friendly winter clothing series. Clothing and accessories that keep your child warm during the cold winter months can be natural and eco-friendly! This series is focused on handmade products sold on Etsy. Etsy is a great marketplace for finding eco-friendly, natural, handmade products that are going to last a long time. Passport Baby brought the original sleep sacks to the US and can be called the sleep sack expert. The Etsy shop offers year-round sleep sacks and warmer sleep sacks to keep the baby warm and comfortable.



Unquilted Cotton Kindersack         
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

Passport Baby Coupon Code: Use "CustNext" for 10% off your next order from Kindersack.

The Good
The Not So Good
High quality fabric and design

Great fit for multiple seasons

100% cotton fabrics, double lined




I love sleep sacks for a baby or a toddler. Sleep sacks are a great way to add additional layers, without bulk, to keep a baby warm when they are sleeping. My 21 month old son has been in a sleep sack since he was born. I plan to continue using sleep sacks for the next few years. We have an older home and we keep the house a bit on the cooler side. Nonetheless, a sleep sack keeps him warm at night.

Sleep sacks act like a mitten to keep the child warm. The sleeveless sacks are great to ensure the child does not overheat.

Passport Baby brought the original sleep sack, kindersack, to the United States. The owner has been designing and creating sleep sacks for over 14 years. Sizes of the kindersacks range up to 6 years old. Different weights (thicknesses) are available for a year round kindersack or a warmer kindersack. I received a year round kindersack in 100% cotton, double layered, sized for 9-24 months. This size will last until he is 2.5 years old, which makes this a great investment. Previously, we purchased a new sleep sack every 6 months.

The fabrics are a great and unique feature of the Kindersack. The fabrics are made in Europe. They remind me of the fabrics that I grew up with in Eastern Europe. The classic designs bring back many childhood memories for me. The 100% cotton fabric is very durable and will last for a long time.

Sizing: It is important to purchase the right size to fit your child. Sleep sacks that are too large will result in too much fabric that can cause safety concerns. A little bit of room at the bottom is appropriate, but not too much. Passport Baby worked with me to select the right size based on my son's height.

One of the first things I noticed about the kindersack is the high quality of the fabric. There are two layers of cotton. I was impressed with the fabric. The fabric is very durable and reminded me of an heirloom piece of clothing that can be passed down to the next generation. I chose the unquilted warmth since I plan on using the sleep sack in the warmer months. Passport Baby also offers quilted and flannel sleep sacks if you live in a really cold area, have a cold or drafty house, or keep your thermostat set very low.

Fit: I ordered the kindersack in a slightly bigger size for the warmer Spring and Summer months. The 9-24 months fits my 22 month old son a bit big, so if you were ordering for now, then I would work with Passport Baby to select the right size. Based on my experience, the kindersack runs big. Otherwise, I thought the neck and arm openings were just right and the fit around the torso had enough room for movement, but not too much where the sleep sack would not be safe.

The Verdict: I would highly recommend Passport Baby original kindersacks. The options to customize based on weight needed to stay on the warmer side or on the cooler side is beneficial. The high quality fabric and design makes the kindersacks a useful and treasured item.

Disclosure: I received the above products to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wool Longies and Wool Soft Soles Shoes [Review]

This post is part of the eco-friendly winter clothing series. Clothing and accessories that keep your child warm during the cold winter months can be natural and eco-friendly! This series is focused on handmade products sold on Etsy. Etsy is a great marketplace for finding eco-friendly, natural, handmade products that are going to last a long time. Belly Bear Baby Gear focuses on using what is available to make what is needed. Most of the products are made from repurposed/upcycled materials, including wool, cotton, fleece, leather, etc. Upcycled wool longies and wool soft soled shoes are a must for cold winter months.
Upcycled Wool Longies          ($20.00)
Wool Soft Soled Shoes           ($15.00)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Made from 100% wool

Made from upcycled/recycled fabrics

High quality stitching




Wool is my favorite fabric for staying warm in the winter months. After researching warm clothing for my toddler, I realized that almost all warm items are made with polyester fleece. While polyester fleece is great for staying warm, there are many downsides to using fleece. Polyester fleece is synthetic (petroleum based). While it can be made from recycled plastic, most of the time it is not. Polyester fleece is treated with chemicals to make it flame retardant. This is often done for baby and kids clothing. Fleece can cause overheating in babies. Wool is the best option for staying warm and reducing the amount of chemicals our family is exposed to.

Christine at Belly Bear Baby Gear has the most adorable and functional wool clothing for children. I received the Upcycled Wool Longies and Wool Soft Soles Shoes.

 

The Wool Longies are custom made to fit your child. Sizes are available from newborn to 3/4T. You can choose between wool and cashmere. Christine upcycles sweaters to create Wool Longies. I was very impressed with the softness of the pants. Lanolization and appliques can also be attached. The Wool Longies have a cuff at the bottom, which can be rolled to make the Longies shorter or longer. This feature allows the pants to be worn for several seasons. The top of the pants has a wide band. The band can be folded over to adjust for length.

If you plan on using the Wool Longies over cloth diapers, Christine can lanolize the Wool Longies for you. I opted for no lanolization. I use waterproof diaper covers under the Wool Longies. There is plenty of room for a cloth diaper.

The Wool Soft Soled Shoes are also custom made to fit your child's foot. Sizes are available from newborn to adult. They are made from upcycled wood, upcycled suede, upcycled denim or fleece. Christine uses scraps from her other creations to create the soft soles shoes. The shoes fit my 21 month old very well. He can wear them with socks or without socks. There is a hidden elastic that makes putting the shoes on and removing them easy. I loved that the Wool Longies and the Wool Soft Soles Shoes matched in fabric and color. My little guy is so adorable running around in this outfit.

Washing Instructions: Hand washing is recommended for wool. My preferred method for cleaning wool is to soak it overnight (12-24) in warm water with a mild natural soap (Dr. Bronner's Soap), rinse with cold water until water runs clear, ring out by rolling in a towel and lay out or hang to dry. Some people do wash wool in the washer on cold water. Remember, do not dry wool in the dryer on any heat.

I am very impressed with the high quality (fabric, design, stitching). With appropriate care, these two items will last for a long time and can be handed down. I love that the Wool Longies and the Wool Soft Soled Shoes can be worn by themselves or layered. The outfit, alone, has kept my son very warm. We have been spending more time in our cold basement. I do not have to worry about him becoming cold.

The Verdict: I would highly recommend Belly Bear Baby Gear to any mother and would purchase Christine's upcycled creations for a baby shower or a baby gift.

Disclosure: I received the above products to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. This post may contain Affiliate links. You do not pay more by clicking and purchasing through the link. I recently a small amount of compensation to support this blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Free Blogger Opp: Freshly Picked Moccasins

Freshly Picked Blogger Opp

Hosted by: Just Another Mom


Sign ups for this blogger opp will close on 1/19 and the giveaway will go live on 1/21.

You are signing up to help promote a giveaway for Freshly Picked Moccasins- moccasins for babies/toddlers. There are three ways to participate:

  • Free
  • Paid links
  • Co Host Spot

And in the referral box, tell them that Katie/All Natural Katie sent you!


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