Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Green Baby Holiday Gift Guide 2013

We are just about 8 weeks away from the holidays! I feel like this year has flown by, but that is expected with the arrival of a baby that completed our family earlier this year. I have loved putting to use some of the green and natural products that I have researched and received as gifts during the baby showers and post birth. The following are products that I personally use or would recommend to anyone who is expecting or knows someone that is expecting.


This was my first purchase when I was pregnant. After much research on the best baby carriers, an organic ERGObaby was the right choice for our family. The ERGObaby carrier never leaves my side. I take it everywhere! Sometimes, wearing the baby is the only thing that will calm him down. Other times, it is easier to wear a baby in a grocery store or at a festival than pushing around a stroller through crods. The ERGObaby is quick to put on and distributes the weight of the baby evenly over my hips. Every mom should have an ERGObaby carrier for hands-free childcare.

Ergobaby Special 15% Off Discount through Wednesday, December 25 . The 15% discount will be applied at checkout.
Tropical Traditions

Tropical Traditions is not only about organic, high quality coconut oil. My favorite products, besides the organic Gold Label Coconut Oil, are the non-toxic All Purpose Household Cleaner and Powdered Laundry Detergent. The All Purpose Household Cleaner is tough on grease and stains. Use this cleaner on any hand-me-down toys, equipment, or furniture. Also works well to clean up any baby messes. We wash all of our laundry with the Powdered Laundry Detergent (baby safe, cloth diaper safe). A container of this detergent is perfect for washing all of those brand new baby clothes, blankets, and bedding prior to use. Look to Household Traditions by Tropic Traditions for non-toxic household cleaners safe for the family and for babies.


Babies' skin is extremely sensitive to anything that it comes in contact with. When choosing body products for my baby, I choose eco-friendly baby products with organic and all natural ingredients. Episencial is the #1 organic brand in hospital birthing centers and offers a gentle way to clean, moisturize, and protect baby's sensitive skin. My husband loves the Episencial Sunny Sunscreen, which goes on clear without the nano-chemicals. Playful Wash is our favorite product for bathtub. Perfect for babies with sensitive skin! Available at Pure and Simple Baby.

Soap Nuts

Another detergent that I sometimes use for cloth diaper laundry and baby laundry is organic Soap Nuts. I have used Soap Nuts eco-friendly laundry detergent a few times for non-toxic cloth diaper laundry and everything came out smelling clean. Soap Nuts is the ultimate green laundry product because it leaves no residue and is compostable after all of the saponins are released. Check out my review of Soap Nuts for more information.

Smitten by Rearz

Yes, cloth diapers are a perfect holiday gift! What better was to pay it forward in terms of saving money, precious baby skin, and the environment. Cloth diapers might be an investment up front, but pay dividends going forward. Although I prefer All In One (AIO) diapers, I like the economics of fitted diapers and covers. Rearz Smitten diapers hold a lot of liquid and wick moisture away from baby's skin. They are made from unbleached cotton and colored with 100% organic dyes. If someone is expecting or just gave birth, this might be a perfect little gift. Read my review of the Smitten Fitted Cloth Diaper.

Halo Sleep Sack

I registered for a newborn Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle which has the velcro across the chest. Our baby preferred to have his hands out, which worked well with this sleep sack. I have since purchased two more Halo Sleep Sacks to last past 1 year. These are available in organic cotton. Sleep sacks keep your baby warm and allow for breathability because they are made from 100% cotton. Halo Sleep Sacks are a great way to layer and keep the baby comfortable at night without using blankets that can pose hazards to the baby. We are currently using the organic Cotton Wearable Blanket.


If you have any questions about these products or our experiences with them, please contact me. I am always willing to share eco-friendly and green products for your baby and your family. Happy holiday shopping!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links to where I usually shop. Your purchases support this blog at no additional cost to you. This post may also contain links to reviews where I received a complimentary media sample to facilitate the review. Regardless, I feature and recommend only brands and products that I myself would use.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Reduce BPA Exposure from Food Packages [#CTWW]

This week's Change the World Wednesday challenge comes at just the right time. I have been working on my emergency preparedness kit and restocking the pantry with what else by canned and prepackaged items. To make things a little more interesting, the challenge in front of me is as follows.

This week ban BPA from your life. Need some ideas? Avoid canned foods, including prepared soups, vegetables, sauces, soda and beer. Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Say no to printed receipts; they contain BPA. 

An audit of my pantry showed a number of items in cans. Since can lining potentially contains BPA, my task is to find these products in safer containers. The table below shows the items, the container I usually purchase these products in and what changes I plan on making to the container. 

Some items are only available in cans, so I will plan on freezing or caning (in glass jars) the fresh vegetables myself. I prefer to eat vegetables fresh, so the items I buy in jars are mostly legumes and vegetables.

Product BPA Package Non-BPA Package
Beans Can Buy and store dry in glass
Tomatoes Can Freeze or can fresh in glass
Tomato Sauce Can Glass jar
Soup Can Aseptic (paperboard carton)
Jalapenos Can Freeze or can fresh in glass
Coconut Milk Can TBD

A little side story for you...

During the last grocery trip, I was shopping for ingredients to make a Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe that called for canned tomatoes. As I stood in the canned goods aisle, the little "greenie" on my shoulder reminded me of this week's challenge. I turned around and went back to the produce section to pick up 5 tomatoes. I decided they would taste better and I would eliminate exposure to BPA and one more can going into the recycle bin.

>> What are some items in your pantry that can be switched for BPA-free packaging??

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dr. Scholl's Active Series Supports Your Foot [Review]

One of my favorite hobbies is running. In my mind, there is nothing better than getting out for a run and processing all of my thoughts, worries, and experiences as I drift away to the music on my iPod. Although running shoes are made with standard molds, everyone foot is different. Not only should you get fitted for running shoes, but you should also get fitted for insoles to support your foot. Our feet support our body all day long and should have the right type of support themselves. Dr. Scholl's Active Series insoles provide triple zone protection to reduce the impact on our feet.

Dr. Scholl's Active Series insoles        ($24.99)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

I am a firm believer in having the right insoles to support physical activities such as running. The insoles that come in shoes are usually not enough. If you do not support your foot, you will experience pain eventually. Dr. Scholl's Active Series inserts provide the right support everywhere. To fit the insoles into my shoes, the inserts needed to be cut to fit my shoes. I took out the insole that came with my running shoes and measured the correct size for the Active Series insole. I love that I can get a customized fit for my shoe size.

I currently have inserts to support my high arches. I tried to put both the insert and insole inside, but it did not quite work well together since the Dr. Scholl's Active Series inserts have reinforced arch support. I might try ditching the high arch inserts and see how the Active Series work by themselves.

I traded the standard inserts for Dr. Scholl's and have loved running in my running shoes. Active Series inserts provide cushion and support for any physical activity like running, walking, or cross training. Remember to replace every 6 months or at the first signs of wearing.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free from Influenster. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Free Blogger Opp: $300 Target Gift Card [Giveaway]

Celebrate Your Holiday Wish

Giveaway Sign-Up

Prize $300 Target Gift Card

November 11-30 , 2013
Open to US


Details For You To Know About

• Event Dates: 11/11-11/30, 2013
• Post the announcement about this giveaway (Find the copy to post here) of pay the $5 fee (pay via PayPal to vivaseo@mac.com, and put your blog name if you’re paying)

Fill Out the Form for Your Participation Here, If You’re a Blogger

Tell them Katie from All Natural Katie referred you when you sign up! Thank you!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vegan Mineral Eyeshadows by Simplicity Cosmetics [Review]

After a few years of riding off makeup (except my beloved mascara), I am slowly getting back into the Simplicity Cosmetics, offers natural, vegan, mineral eyeshadows and other cosmetics that use as few ingredients as possible and promise no fillers.
game! With more and more options for natural and organic makeup, this fun loving greenie thinks it is time to spice things up again. As I search for natural and organic body and beauty products, I keep going back to Etsy. The shop owners hand make their items with high quality, natural and/or organic ingredients. This attention to detail is often times hard to find on stores shelves, even in natural food stores. My latest discovery,

Vegan Mineral Eyeshadow        ($6.00)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
No filler ingredients
Contains Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides (rated 2-3 on EWG)
No micronized or nano minerals

Natural minerals (no dyes)

Long lasting, non-irritating.

Simplicity Cosmetics is all about the ingredients. The guidelines:
  1. No Parabens
  2. No Bismuth
  3. No Micronized or Nano minerals
  4. No Dyes
  5. No Cornstarch
  6. No Talc

I received four colors to try: Rose Gold, Honey, Bronze, and Stone. I was most excited to try the Rose Gold because this color is supposed to make blue eyes pop. I put on a few coats of mascara and dusted on the Rose Gold eyeshadow with an eyeshadow brush. The application did not require a lot of the product, just a tiny bit on my eyelids and I could see my blue eyes popping. I wore the eyeshadow all afternoon. The  eyeshadow stayed exactly where I applied it. There were no creases, no lines, and no fading. Simplicity Cosmetics eyeshadow stayed exactly where I put it and lasted for a long time, unlike your off-the-shelf eyeshadows that usually end up in the crease and fade after a few hours. I love that I could apply the eyeshadow once and be confident that it would last all day. The minerals are also water resistant, which makes them perfect for any application.

My eyes are sensitive to makeup, even to the somewhat natural mascara that I wear. After a couple of hours, my eyes seem to itch from makeup. I was happy to discover that Simplicity Cosmetics did not irritate my eyes at all. I completely forgot that I even had makeup on. What they say about mineral makeup must be true!

Let's take a look at the ingredients then! My usual source for ingredients reveals that Mica is rated as a 3 (low-moderate hazard), Titanium Dioxide rated 1-3 (low to moderate hazard depending on usage), Rice Powder as a 2 (low hazard), Iron Oxides as a 2 (low hazard), and Magnesium Stearate as a 0. I would average this out to a 2 (low hazard). I have realized that if the cosmetics has a color that comes from a natural form, it will be a mineral of some sort. Although minerals are not rated as 0 (no hazard), they are fairly low hazard. If I am applying just a little to my eyelids once in a while, I am not worried about the "low hazard" rating. Natural colorings of body products are usually based on minerals.

Simplicity Cosmetics offers high quality, hand made, vegan eyeshadows and cosmetics that will appeal to anyone. If you are looking to "green" your cosmetics bag, look to Simplicity Cosmetics.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Just One Scoop of Total Nutrition [Review]

Although I prefer to eat real foods instead of junk/processed foods and then taking supplements to make sure I get the nutrients that my body requires, I do occasionally like to get a boost from a high quality supplement. I always look for all natural, organic, non-GMO supplements. These characteristics ensure that my body is getting the best vitamins and minerals from the supplements. Immortal Herbs Total Nutrition formula is packed with 100% organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, raw superfoods to promote all over wellness in just one scoop a day.

Immortal Herbs Total Nutrition        (30 day supply, $69.95)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
100% organic, non-GMO ingredients

Vegan and gluten-free

Neutral flavored

Can be used in a variety of ways

When I ran down the list of ingredients, I loved the sound of raw superfoods from nature.

Ingredients: Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Spirulina, Spinach, Alfalfa Leaf, Kelp, Dulse Leaf, Barley Grass Juice, Orange Peel, Beet Root, Dandelion Leaf, Lemon Peel, Gingko Leaf, Wheat Grass Juice, Maca Root, Cacao, Ashwagandha, Sacha Inchi, Manuka Honey, Bee Pollen, Reishi Mushroom, Blueberry, Black Currant, Wild Bilberry, Wild Lingonberry, Aronia, Pomegranate, Concord Grape, Red Raspberry, Sour Cherry, Wild Elderberry, Wild Cranberry, Black Raspberry, Goji Berries and Schiznadra Berries.

All ingredients are 100% organic, non-GMO, vegan, and raw. In this form, your body is able to absorb the nutrients the easiest. One scoop (about one tablespoon) provides you with an entire day of nutrients. I really like that the ingredients are foods or herbs that you would find in nature, ones that you would eat yourself, not complex, medical sounding names of synthetic and extracted compounds that make no sense.

The formula is easy to mix into a glass of water. The color was a deep green. The flavor was fairly neutral, although hinted at the barley and wheat grass ingredients. If you are not used to a grassy flavor, I recommend adding a sweetener like cane sugar or honey, or mixing into a smoothie, a bowl of oatmeal, or whatever else sounds good. One of my favorite way to incorporate superfood powders into my meals is by mixing into oatmeal. Total Nutrition superfood formula would also be a perfect addition to your green smoothie (a little kale, a little spinach, and a little apple or banana for sweetness).

I have tried other superfood formulas and I can say that Immortal Herbs Total Nutrition superfood formula has the least neutral flavor, which makes it easy to add to just about anything you would like to add it to. A formula that contains 100% organic, non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free ingredients is always a winner in my book. Look at Immortable Herbs to supplement for improved health and wellness.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

San-J Gluten-Free Non-GMO Sauces [Review]

My mom always said that a great sauce or great crusty bread makes for good food. Think about it. French fries needs a dipping sauce. Sushi needs soy sauce. And a sandwich always needs "schmear." I love sauces that can be used for many jobs, like marinading, cooking with, or using a dipping sauce. San-J offers a variety of sauces and flavors that will compliment any meal.

San-J Gluten-Free Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry and Marinade      
San-J Tamari Lite Gluten-Free Soy Sauce                                   
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Non-GMO project verified
Not certified organic

Authentic and full flavors


I received San-J Gluten-Free Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry and Marinade and San-J Tamari Lite Gluten-Free Soy Sauce. The sauces are non-GMO project verified, which is very important because soy is one of the ingredients. I would like to see the sauces include certified organic ingredients. However, there are no synthetic ingredients or preservatives in either of the two sauces, which is a plus.

San-J Gluten-Free Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry is a great sauce for marinading meat, stir-frying, and for dipping. I have to be honest and admit that the first few times I consumed this sauce, it was dipping oven roasted potatoes into. Delicious! I also used the sauce poured over smoked salmon and for marinading a grass-fed ribeye for my husband's birthday. I love that I can use this sauce in many different ways. The Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry sauce a little thin to be a dipping sauce so I will stick to using it as a marinade or a stir-fry sauce.

After trying the Tamari Lite Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, I realized that I prefer this flavor to the standard soy sauce flavor. It has a little bit of a different, complex flavor that complements Asian dishes very well. I liked the Tamari Lite Soy Sauce paired with sushi and also in a stir-fry of vegetables that were served over rice.

San-J Gluten-Free sauces are available at my local Whole Foods in all of the varieties. They are long lasting, delicious, and wallet friendly. If you are looking to add some spice and pizzazz to your meals, I recommend San-J's line of non-GMO project verified, gluten-free sauces.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free to facilitate this review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hello Winter!

Ok, ok, maybe not Winter, but definitely a cold Fall! It seems like we skipped from 70 degree weather straight to 40 degrees with very low temperatures overnight that prompted me to pick the remaining peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. My running gear has transformed from shorts and a tank top to pants and a long sleeve shirt. And baby wearing, well...I don't know that I would call it. You decide for yourself. Let's just say that my husband's Addidas jacket make for a nice cover for the baby and me. I am sure the neighbors were wondering what the blue covered head sticking out of my jacket was. Either way, the baby and I had a nice walk around the neighborhood.


>> How is the weather changing in your area??

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Rotten Fruit

I strive to be good about not wasting food, but sometimes life (and babies) get the best of us. Four organic nectarines and one homegrown Purple Cherokee tomato are going in the compost. :(

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Vegan Red Curry Vegetables [Recipe]

My husband and I love Thai food! One Friday night many many years ago, he wanted to make Thai at home. From that moment, we have been trying every single recipe, no matter how intimidating. Red Curry Chicken has become one of our favorite recipes and I have adapted it to scallops and a variety of vegetables. Either way, this dish is delicious no matter what you put in it. Don't be intimated by the curry. You can control the amount of spice and heat.

Today, in the spirit of reducing our footprint and this week's challenge of cooking one (or more) vegan meals, I bring to you Red Curry Vegetables. The vegetables alone are delicious, but if you are inclined to add meat for your non-vegan family members, then add about a pound of diced chicken, pork, or beef right before you add the vegetables and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Red Curry Vegetables with Basil

Total: 25 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or your preferred vegetable-based oil)
1 1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (add more for medium/hot spice level)
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk, 
shaken2 teaspoons soy sauce (optional)
2-3 cups of sliced vegetables: bell peppers, onions, baby corn, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, eggplant, etc.
10 large basil leaves, chopped (can leave out)

Equipment: A large frying pan with tall sides and lid works much better than a wok.

1. Heat the oil in the frying pan over medium heat.
2. Add the curry base and simmer for 2 minutes, so that it is dissolved and foaming. Stir frequently so the curry does not burn.
3. Stir in the can of the coconut milk. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until the coconut milk begins to bubble and thickens.

4. Add vegetables and stir into sauce. Cook for about 5  minutes.
5. Stir in soy sauce (optional).
6. Turn heat down to Low-Med, close the lid, and simmer for 5-10 minutes until vegetables soften. If you prefer a thicker sauce, keep the lid off.  
7. Add the chopped basil.
8. Serve over brown rice.

Tip: Experiment with the amount of curry and the different types of curry. Our favorites are Panang Curry (sweeter and milder) and Massaman Curry (aromatic and loaded with dry spices). 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Can You Recycle Receipts?

After many internal debates about whether receipts can be recycled and/or composted, I finally did some

research as more and more stores (even natural and organic stores) are starting to use thermal receipts. Plain paper receipts can be recycled and/or composted, but thermal receipts require a different process.

Question: Can you recycle/compost thermal receipts?

Answer: You should NEITHER recycle NOR compost thermal paper receipts. 

Thermal receipts may contain BPA or other potentially harmful chemicals. Therefore, you do not want to compost the receipts and transfer the chemicals to your garden and the fruits and vegetables that you grow. The receipts should be sealed well to prevent from blowing away to reduce the release of BPA into the environment (according to the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Rapid Research (PPRC)). Recycling receipts releases BPA into the water and into the finished recycled product, which further exposes people and the environment to BPA and other potentially harmful chemicals.

And...remember to wash your hands after handling receipts!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Smitten by Rearz Fitted Cloth Diaper [Review]

This is the first time I am writing about cloth diapers. I am very excited! I read about and researched cloth diapers for quite some time before I began using them. My cloth stash includes a variety of types, closures, fits, colors, etc. I do not have a strong preference to the types of diapers or closure, as long as they fit well and absorb well. Rearz Smitten fitted cloth diaper offers an absorbent, quick drying fitted cloth diaper with soft velour and a tongue design.

Rearz Smitted Fitted Cloth Diaper        (5 pack, $69.99)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Colored with certified organic dyes
Requires cover
100% cotton (unbleached inside)
Velcro is stiff
Tongue design for faster drying

Cross over snaps

Since the focus of my blog is about natural and green living, I would like to focus first on the environmental impact of the Rearz Smitten fitted cloth diaper. I love that the fitted diaper is made from 100% cotton, outside colored with certified organic dyes and inside made from unbleached cotton. The type of fabric and whether it is made from organic, conventional, or synthetic fabric is very important to me. Babies have such sensitive skin! The organic dyes are very bright and have not faded with several prep washes and uses. I received the red color and also have a Rearz Smitten in brown. The colors are so rich that I cannot believe the fabric is dyed with organic dyes.

Fitted cloth diapers do require waterproof covers, but you can also go without if you can remember to frequently check for wetness. I kept the cover off one day to see how absorbent the Rearz Smitten was. After one pee, the wetness was noticeable on the outside to the point where it would have gotten the onesie wet. I did not use any additional inserts. If you prefer to go coverless, I recommend adding a few inserts into the pocket opening to boost absorbency. I have only used Rearz Smitten fitted during the daytime only since we do not cloth diaper at night. An absorbent insert would add enough materials for night time wear.

Rearz Smitten fitted cloth diaper is offered with snaps or with velcro. I received the Rearz Smitten with snaps. My existing Rearz has velcro. In general, I do not have a strong preference of snaps versus velcro, but I did notice that the Rearz Smitten velcro is stiff. If you add a cover with more velcro, it might be a little too much. I recommend going with the snaps. The snaps were easy to use and allowed me to get a good fit. I like the cross over snaps that allow for a better fit with newborns or lean babies. My son is a little on the leaner and longer side. The leg opening just barely fit tight around his legs, but if I am careful on how I secure the diaper, the diaper does not leak.

Overall, I have enjoyed using the Rearz Smitten fitted cloth diaper with snaps. Only today, I realized that the tongue does NOT go inside of the opening. And all of this time, I was frustrated that the tongue was so hard to stuff inside the smaller opening. Tongue goes on the outside, additional inserts go on the inside. The unbleached cotton, organic dyes, and tongue design make the Rearz Smitten fitted cloth diaper a great addition to your cloth stash.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Non-GMO Supplements from Natural Vitality [Giveaway]

Natural-Vitality-2October is Non-GMO Awareness Month, and to celebrate, Natural Vitality is sponsoring an awesome giveaway event, hosted by Happy Mothering and the Green Moms Network. Natural Vitality makes high-quality, award-winning dietary supplements that are Non-GMO Project Verified! The ingredients in their supplements are also organically grown! There are far and few companies that offer organic and non-GMO ingredients and Natural Vitality is one of them.

Natural Vitality is best know for Natural Calm, a tasty magnesium supplement that helps your muscles and nerves function properly, keeps your heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and assists in keeping your bones strong.

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