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Posted in Healthy Home, Nontoxic Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Healthy Home Spring Cleaning Challenge

Hello! I have been wanting to write this post for a while, and NOW seemed like the perfect time to kick it off, with mostly everyone at home and perhaps even with some extra time on our hands.

Spring Cleaning:

Focusing on what we do have control of right now, and enjoying the safety and comfort of our home, our family has created some household goals for spring cleaning and organization! I wanted to put a little extra love out in the world, so I’ve created free worksheets that go along with it. Simply download the empty templates and personalize them, or use the already completed task sheet we are following in our home. (You are welcome to tag “MakeSimpleHappen” and share with friends as well!).

 
(Free Download with a bonus section on Larger House Project Goals, and two “Big Impact” project ideas from me!)

Healthy Cleaning Tips

MakeSimpleHappen Cleaning Bin

I have spent the last several years transitioning our household over to safer, more natural products, and some DIY cleaners as well.

Many times warm water 💦 ,basic soap, and a good scrub, are ALL that is needed to give a deep clean and protect from nasty germs—hands included. So PRETTY PLEASE don’t bring back the yucky harsh chemical cleaners 🚫 (the coronavirus has shown to have a lipid barrier and proteins, which can be broken down by regular soaps, if washed long- and well enough! Isn’t that reassuring?).

Household Basics for Cleaning_MakeSimpleHappen

There are some fabulous resources out there (👇) so I won’t go into too much detail, but here are our “always have on hand” basic household items for cleaning:

  • Distilled Water
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Castile Soap (Dr. Bronner’s is our fav)
  • Rubbing Alcohol (or a cheap vodka works too!)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (if you can find it right now)
  • Reusable Brushes and Rags (Full Circle Home is our fav for these items)
  • Norwex Cloths (Especially the Dusting Mit, Window Cloth, and Enviro Cloth–you can get all three in this set here).

Favorite Safe Cleaners:

Humble Suds  I especially love the All Purpose Cleaner, Scour Cleaning Paste and Laundry Soap. Use code MAKESIMPLEHAPPEN for 15% off your orders.

Branch Basics is also wonderful for safe and effective cleaning. Their concentrate lasts quite a long time and makes a wide variety of cleaners for around the house. Get $10 off your first purchase using my link.

DoTerra OnGuard Concentrate is great when we need to do a deep “disinfect” (I’ll mix it and spray on door handles, light switches and other frequently-touched surfaces after someone comes home with a bug 🤒), and for surfaces like our yoga mats!  Below are the DoTerra oils I keep on hand for cleaning, as well:

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The @EWG has a great “Guide to Healthy Cleaning” and does the research for you on toxicity, giving “grades” for products. The “🅰️“and “🅱️“s are the safest. 🌱

https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners

Happy Cleaning! Reach out with any specific questions and let me know how your spring cleaning goes!

-Amber

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Welcome! Let’s Connect…

Welcome! I’m Amber–looking forward to sharing our wellness journeys together.

My path to create a more nontoxic lifestyle started nearly 10 years ago, as a young married adult, and honestly was driven more by keeping a “clean house” rather than limiting our exposures to toxins—taking shoes off at the door, meant less time sweeping and mopping floors. That was a win in my book! Babies, and some personal health challenges (cue the grapefruit-sized tumor) have stirred up a passion for advocacy and education around simple, yet effective, ways to limit exposure to environmental toxins in your home and on your body.

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More about my #CleanSwapProcess: My husband and I have been long-time athletes and enjoy being fit, and the thrill of personal goals. Spending our early married years in Southern California allowed us the access to tons of healthy, organically-grown produce (hello year-round farmer’s markets, and fruit trees growing in our own yard!) plus, beautiful weather that allowed us to be outside and move our bodies on the daily (coming from sunny Colorado, this was definitely something that we needed to maintain!) and honestly, we just got kind of got used to having a healthier lifestyle!

Of course there really is always room to grow in this department, and when our children were born, our eyes were open to a whole new world of health and wellness, particularly as it pertains to toxins in our home, and what products we used on our little ones.

I started this blog nearly 6 years ago after the birth of our oldest child, as a way to share helpful tips for new parents on safer products for babies and kids, and tips for a simple and healthy home. During that time, I also left my nonprofit management job to raise babies, and as a “passion project” that was also flexible (and super fun!), I became certified, and created my own children’s yoga business. Health & Wellness, really has been a huge passion of mine, and a journey that has brought much joy, and many amazing friendships!

Fast forward to a few years ago, when I went in for emergency surgery for a grapefruit-sized ovarian tumor. Yes, you read that right. A grapefruit-sized tumor, leading to a partial hysterectomy and weeks of healing. The tumor was really mind-boggling for me. I had been so conscious of health, with regards to exercise and nutrition, and our home environment. How could this happen? Research, and the help of a friend that was working in the space of safer and clean-ingredient personal care products, led me down a rabbit-hole that once you go down, there is no going back. Once you know it, you can’t “unknow” the information about the toxins and chemicals in personal care products… so the only way forward was to make some clean swaps and toss the crap. 

What I discovered was that the products I was using on my own body every day (my skin care, lotions, makeup, hair products, perfume) were exposing me to hundreds of chemicals…carcinogens and hormone-disrupting toxins. Ones that can mimic your body’s estrogen, causing tumors to grow out of control–which is really what I think contributed to my grapefruit-sized ovarian tumor!

This new knowledge, and more and more loved ones being diagnosed with cancers, autoimmune diseases, and infertility, propelled me to start advocating for, and educating about safer personal care products, toxins to avoid, and brands that truly care about the well-being of their consumers! Beautycounter was a natural fit–and their advocacy efforts in D.C. working to change the laws that govern our products is what really made me fall in love. Beauty should not come at a sacrifice, my dear ones.

And to my delight, I discovered that I didn’t have to give up wonderful products to have safer versions. I found the perfect intersection of high performance and safe, clean ingredients, and I can’t wait to share with you, along with a growing number of companies that are ethical in their sourcing and ingredient choices, and disclose all ingredients on their labels (I’ll share more about U.S. Loopholes in this department in a future post).

Feel free to reach out with any ways I can be helpful, or if there are topics you would like me to cover here on my blog. Simply fill in the form below.

Connect with me in my Healthy Living Group on Facebook, by clicking here.

Shop Safe and Clean Ingredient Products through my link here. 

Be well!

xo, Amber

Copyright © MakeSimpleHappen, LLC, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Healthy Home, Nontoxic Lifestyle, Organization, Uncategorized

Creating a “Shoe-Free” Home

If you have followed me for a bit, you know that this is one of the FIRST things I advocate for when trying to create a cleaner, more organized, and most of all HEALTHIER home. (And it happens to be the question I get asked the most frequently, too!).

There are so many good reasons to leave the shoes at the door–the biggest being viruses, bacteria, waste, herbicide and pesticide toxins, heavy metals, and dirt & grim, in general, which Medical studies show are very common on the bottom of your shoes, AND can live there for several days. A friend shared an article today about the corona virus and how it can live on your shoes for up to 5 days. So there ya go! YUCK.

The good news is, you only need 4 key things to make a Shoe-Free House happen!

For EACH Entrance:

1. Rug or Mat to wipe shoes off when you immediately enter.

2. A Shoe Rack/Basket/Tray to store your shoes in an orderly way.

3. A organized corner to store the “goods”.

This is important, because if you come in through the garage one day, the front door another, or in-and-out from the backyard when playing or gardening, you’ll need a spot at each entrance to kick off the shoes right away. It defeats the purpose if you walk through the house to get to the spot where your shoes are stored.

4. A commitment from the members of the house to make it a habit.

It may take a few kind reminders but after a week or so, everyone will be in the groove of kicking off their shoes as soon as they walk through the door. If you aren’t used to bare feet at home, you may want to stick some socks or indoor slippers nearby for family members to slip on. 🙂 I have found this especially true for guests–like when my in-laws come to visit. After a bit, they got used to packing a pair of their own socks to bring along when coming over.

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First Step: Prep

To start out fresh, spend an afternoon doing a deep clean on the hard surfaces and carpeted areas of your home. (Sweep/Vacuum, and wash). Dont forget to throw the mats and rugs in the washer, as well.

We love Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner for a safe and effective option. For other hard surfaces, a mixture of White Distilled Vinegar with warm water and (optional) a few drops of DoTerra’s Lemon Essential Oil for extra disinfecting power and a great scent. Remove all the rugs and move the furniture to do a full-floor clean! This helps with the motivation to keep them clean and free of outside germs.

Second Step: Procure your supplies

Here are a few of my favorite options (click the photo to shop the images):

Expandable+3-Tier+15+Pair+Stackable+Shoe+Rack-Wayfair
3-tiered expandable shoe rack from Wayfair
Target Iron Shoe Tray
Iron Boot Tray by “Smith & Hawkin” from Target
10073743-shoe-tree-3-tier-chrome_Container Store
Shoe Tree from The Container Store

 Third Step: Find a corner or closet near each entry and set up your shoe storage zone!

Shoe Free Home_MakeSimpleHappen

This doesn’t have to be fancy. Just make it work for your family. I like to have a rug immediately in front of the door, and then a tray, rack or basket next to it where we can easily and neatly store the shoes. Some friends have a closet or a cupboard where their shoes fit in. Awesome. Once the bin fills up, it is time to store some pairs in the bedroom, or distribute to the other “shoe storage zones” around the house. You’ll probably find you have to sweep and vacuum less, too!

Have an outdoor pet? You can add a hanging towel nearby to wipe their paws as they come back in the house. (Norwex would be my preference with natural antibacterial qualities). Because they typically don’t go with you to public spaces like stores, restaurants and public bathrooms, their paws won’t carry nearly as many germs as the bottom of your shoes, so even if you have a pet that comes and goes from the house, having your family remove their shoes is one BIG win in the health and cleanliness column. Whoohoo!

You’re done!

 

Posted in Family Daily Wellness & Checklists, Family Health & Wellness, Simple Habits

Focus On Your Well-Being, Loves!

Writing you during the Covid-19 home lockdowns with some free resources and encouragement to look after your well-being! I know it is hard to try and figure out a “new normal” and balance, transitioning to perhaps working from home AND helping your kids learn from home, too. Take solace in the fact that we are all in this together–lean on one another, have extra grace with yourself, and focus on what you can control! (and might I suggest having some general wellness “goals” for the day, rather than hour-by-hour rigid rules).

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Free Wellness Printables:

I usually am pretty scheduled and like to keep to a detailed routine, but right now, I am ramping up the grace and flexibility. It’s what we all need most!

I am however still being very intentional with minding our health & wellness. Making sure we are taking care of our:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • mental
  • spiritual
  • & healthy home needs each day.

And because it helps keep a little bit of normalcy, we’ve been filling in a daily checklist that we all work to create together (a very loose “schedule” filled in with our won goals, and whatever amazing resources are available online that day! Today was free beginner karate class, a behind-the-scenes at the zoo, and a drawing class!). These templates have been a great guide for our family, and wanted to share them with you, as well.

You can use the editable template and personalize it to your/your family goals, or the pre-filled template for some examples in each category that might help guide you.

 

(Free download! Includes the “Daily Checklist” and “Daily Wellness Goals” worksheets). Let me know how they work out for you! And please share with friends & family, tagging Make Simple Happen.

I love the advice from many, many educators out there: “At the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health (and yours too!) will be more important than their academic skills. And how they FELT during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they DID during these crazy months. So keep that in mind, every single day.”

Lots of love to you and your families! This too shall pass.

xo

-Amber

Posted in Conscious Consumer Gift Guides, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Gifts You Can Feel Good About

It’s one of my favorite things to do–create a Gift List of fun finds for special occasions, that also feature awesome companies, and more conscious gifts, whether they be ethically sourced/fair trade, sustainable upgrades, innovative, or one-of-a-kind finds! Whenever we have an opportunity to use our purchase power, it’s a great time to support companies and products that bring some goodness into the world! And that is just what I think the following companies and products do!

For the Ladies:

Here are some ideas for gifting loved ones (spouses, moms, daughters, GALentines) or YOURSELF! xo

Beautycounter–certified B Corp since the beginning, woman founder, and safe and high performing products that don’t make you miss your old makeup–yes, please!! My favorite for Valentine’s Day: Velvet Eye Shadow Palette in “Romantic”, Color Intense Lip Stick in “Girls’ Night Out”, Liquid Precision Eyeliner, and Lip Gloss in “Dahlia”. *

Rothy’s  –Sustainability meets cute shoes! These adorable and comfy shoes (also machine washable) are made from recycled plastic bottles! Pricey sure, but definitely a wonderful gift!

Klean Kanteen–The OG of stainless waterbottles, a certified Bcorporation and 1% for the Planet member, working hard to keep bodies safe and eliminate single-use waste.  We love the fun designs and longevity of these waterbottles, plus there are different sizes and styles for everyone on your list. Save 40% right now on any Pink or Red waterbottles with code “KleanLuv”

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Cote Nail polish— So many amazing colors to choose from and super safe ingredients. Plus, it is one of the longer-lasting toxin-free brands! I love the “Caught Red Handed” Traveler Set for a great purse collection of reds, or a very cute gift set!

For Your Household

How fun is it to do a “group” gift that everyone appreciates, and uses, rather than smaller things that may not be as meaningful or useful?

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Humble Suds–Quickly becoming one of my favorite cleaning brands, I love this small, women-owned and -run company (local to colorado!) and their great nontoxic household products. Bonus they just launched glass bottles, and concentrate for more sustainable refills. Try the Grapefruit + Lemon All Purpose Cleaner! Want 15% off of your purchase? Use my code “MAKESIMPLEHAPPEN” at checkout.

Stasher Bags! (or any other sustainable and safer food storage options are always a good idea!). I love the color and size selection of this brand though– also a fellow Bcorp and 1% for the Planet Member! And wouldn’t it be so sweet to make a little homemade treat to add into the bags when you gift them?

Essential Oils–great for a safe home fragrance, aromatherapy, or other medicinal purposes. DoTerra is my recommended brand for their purity, transparency, and supply chain ethics. Try “Rose” for amazing skin benefits, or “Serenity” for relaxation…”Purify” is awesome for diffusing or adding to your wool dryer balls for a fresh laundry scent.

Speaking of scents! Parfumes are popular for Valentine’s Day…but don’t make the mistake of getting the conventional toxic crap! I’ve written on this before, but so many carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals hide in synthetically created fragrance (and companies don’t have to tell you about them). If you are looking for a few safer brands using real ingredients and getting great reviews, try EWG-Verified Henry Rose Perfumes, or sustainable clean ingredient PHLUR (another certified B Corp). Both brands have sampler sets you can order to find your favorite scent.

Side Note: What’s this Certified BCorporation stuff all about? Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.

For the Guys

Last but not least!! There are some really cool products out there for the boys too!

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Pop Chart Art--I love these pop-culture infographics, some that you can even interact with (scratch off the baseball stadiums you have visited…or top novels you have read). They are so fun, and they make cool unique gifts and decor for office or home. My hubby LOVED his Major League Ballpark print!

Beautycounter also has a line for the men! We call it “Counterman” for the good guys who also deserve safe and clean ingredients that perform well. (the company bans over 1800 dangerous toxins and chemicals). The Counterman Energizing Charcoal shower gel is amazing for deep cleaning and detoxing the pores, or check out the Shave Regimen or Beard Regimen. Smells awesome, feels great (according to the guys who are huge fans!).

Schmidt’s Ceaderwood + Juniper Natural Soap. Found this last week and holy moly is it cool. Certified Sustainable Palm Oil, Vegan, Cruety Free, No parabens, No Phthalates, No SLS, all safe plant-based and essential oil fragrances, and a great price point. WhooHoo!

HOP Passport--this one is for the beer lover! You can order a digital or physical “passport” (definitely recommend the physical one–it is so cool!) for participating states. Each page of the passport has a brewery/taproom listed for you to visit, you get an actual stamp in your book for the unique brewery, along with special insider deals like 50% off. Love the company’s giveback program too! They have a goal of supporting local bee farmers and buying 2 bee hives per state they offer a passport in, to help fight the global epidemic of bee extinction. yay, bees!

Any other fun things you love to give for Valentine’s Day? I give BOOKS at all occasions, so along with some of the above, my family is each getting a new or vintage book for Love Day. Let me know your favorite gifts to give or receive in the comments! -Amber

*Affiliate links are included, and when you shop those items, I may receive a small commission, which helps support this blog. Thank you.

 

 

Posted in Clean Beauty, Clean Swap Your Personal Care Products, Health & Wellness, Healthy Home, Nontoxic Lifestyle, Simple Habits

Simple & Impactful Ways to Reduce your “Toxic Load” this year!

Welcome! Ready to take some steps to create a more low-tox lifestyle? And, I am talking “Progress over Perfection”, DOABLE and maintainable action steps.

After all, the number one “push back” I get for starting this journey (ie: cleaning up our homes and products, and limiting the number of preventable exposures to toxins on a daily basis), is NOT KNOWING WHERE TO BEGIN. I often hear “I know I should be more careful, but I just feel overwhelmed with the process. What do I change first? How would I possibly do an overhaul of my house and all my products…and won’t that be super expensive?”

I get it! I’ve been there myself, so I have put together some tips of how a REAL people, on an ordinary budget, can make simple clean swaps towards a healthier home. 

You can read more about my personal wellness journey here…

Yes, there is a lot of scary information out there. BUT, the encouraging thing to remember is we are actually in control of so much when it comes to what we buy and what we use in our home and in/on our bodies. Let this feel EMPOWERING to you! Each time you shop, you make a conscious decision for which products you let in your house, and the type of companies you support with your $. Furthermore, as the demand from consumers increases for healthier options, availability of items has increased (HELLO–have you seen my TJMaxx finds!), and prices have started to go down. There is hope! The future is looking brighter.

Below I have detailed some changes that will give you your biggest bang for your buck and categorized them as “Quick Fix” (ie: immediate, simple changes), and “Clean Sweep” (for a larger overhaul and a really awesome long-term health benefit!). You’ll find that many of these are also sustainable, money-saving, goodies, as well.

Canva - Brown Coffee Table on Green Area Rug

Perhaps you start off with a one-per-month goal! Are you an overachiever, than by all means, check them off quicker than that– Go, baby, go! 

Also: You may find that the timing for some of these swaps is more natural for when you are running out of a product, or need to upgrade. This is certainly a low-waste way to go! Use up the old, and then opt for a healthier version. I also like to add items to my wish lists for special occasions like Birthdays, etc. which gives people some fun gifting ideas.

Month 1: Say “No” to Plastic!

Do a quick internet search and you will find tons of information on the health dangers tied to plastics–from cancers to thyroid, hormone and fertility issues, even BPA-free… plastics are no bueno.

“Quick Fix”: Switch to a reusable AND plastic-free waterbottle!

Klean Kanteen

I kick off with this item because as we make health goals (particularly at the start of a new year), they usually include some mix of working out and drinking more water. While we are doing a GOOD thing for our bodies, let’s not negate it by placing that water in a plastic waterbottle. Bonus, your new stainless steel waterbottle will double as a hand weight to build strong muscles–because they aren’t light…but they do keep water fresh and cold, if you like it that way, and you won’t have harmful chemicals leaching into the liquids you consume.

MakeSimpleHappen-approved brands include: Klean Kanteen (which is a certified Bcorp doing good things for communities and the earth, so extra bonus!), Yeti and Hydroflask, are also great.

Snag 25% off your purchase on Klean Kanteen products using this link: https://www.talkable.com/x/KZdJ67

Clean Sweep: Eliminate plastic food storage all together. 

Plastic Free Food Storage

My favorite brands pictured above include:

Plastic-Free Containers: (stainless steel and glass are the best options) Pyrex and Wean Green, and good ‘ole mason jars.

Food Wrap Substitutes: Etee, Bees Wrap, and Lily Bee Wrap, or food-grade silicone stretchy toppers, such as ModFamily.

On-the-go snack and sandwich bags: Stasher Bags (food-grade silicone–you can put them in the dishwasher, freezer, or even boil them!) and Lunch Skins, which have reusable cloth and recyclable options.

Bento Boxes–we are huge “Yum Box” fans! (All materials are food-safe, BPA-Free, Phthalates-free and are CPSIA and FDA compliant)

Yum Box 3

Snag a 20% discount using my MakeSimpleHappen link: https://www.yumboxlunch.com/ and code “TRY20”

Psss…You can even upgrade your skin care to more sustainable plastic-free options. My favorite Countertime line from Beautycounter, is all in beautiful sustainable glass bottles!

Beautycounter's Sustainable Packaging

This means the products are better for your health–no yucky plastic chemicals leaching into the lotions you rub onto your skin–and better for the earth, as it makes the packaging much more sustainable. Beautycounter has been a certified B corp since its founding, with the larger picture of safety, advocacy, and sustainability in mind!

Month 2: Ditch the “Fragrance”

Quick Fix: CLEAR OUT THE SCENTED CANDLES AND AIR FRESHENERS

Yep, that’s right. The synthetic scents in these bad boys are known endocrine (hormone) disruptors, and can be super toxic for your health. In fact, scientists are beginning to refer to synthetic fragrance as the “new secondhand smoke” because it is just that bad for you. Opt instead for diffusing a pure essential oil (I personally love DoTerra for it’s purity, sourcing, and disclosure of ingredients), or adding some fresh flowers in your decor.

Diffusing Essential Oils

Clean Sweep: GO FRAGRANCE-FREE EVERYWHERE!

Whether it is the hand soap in your guest bath, the dryer sheets in your laundry room, or your favorite body lotion, ditching the synthetic scents (i.e. “flavors” created in a lab, versus naturally occurring in mother nature) can save you from exposure to HUNDREDS of potentially dangerous chemicals, and endocrine-disruptors.

Where do you start? When reading labels, check for the ingredient listed “fragrance” or “Parfume” or “Perfume”. (A really helpful app is “Healthy Living” by the Environmental Working Group–scan your products and they will let you know the toxicity rating and also if it contains Fragrance, or check out the EWG’s full online database.

Because of a loophole in our personal care laws, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients they use for fragrance. The average scent consists of 12 separate chemicals, with little safety data, and what data we do have, shows that these chemicals are endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic. Oh ya, and back to plastic, manufacturers add tiny plasticizers called “phthalates” to the fragrance to help the scents stick to your skin and clothes longer, which adds even more hormone-disrupting chemicals in the mix. Yuck.

Clean Ingredient Bath Brands

Some of my favorite, truly honest brands, when it comes to safety of ingredients and transparency for consumers are Beautycounter,* Everyone (EO) products and Alaffia, which all use pure essential oils and plant-based scents for their products, and disclose the ingredients fully on their labels. The photo above is what’s in my kids’ bathtub right now.

PSSS: Maybe you still love a traditional body spray/eau de parfume. These can be REALLY scary, but there are some safer brands popping up like PHLUR and HENRY ROSE!

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Save $5 on Henry Rose Transparent Eau De Parfume when you spend $20 by using my link. I recommend the Discovery set! http://fbuy.me/v/makesimplehappen

Month 3: Pay Attention to your Personal Care Products

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I could really write a novel about this area. For now, PLEASE do yourself a big favor, and check out my post on Why you need to be your own Personal Care Product Advocate

Quick Fix: Out with the Old & Expired!

It’s an easy way to start slimming down products that no longer serve you. Typically makeup and skin care have a shelf life of 2-years or less. So if you have items in your makeup bag or bathroom cabinet you KNOW have been there longer than that (or anything has separated or changed texture or color) put them in the trash!

Many products have a PAO stamp (Period after opening), with a time frame listed. This is how long the product will stay fresh after you have broken the seal. You might find it on the packaging itself, or the original packaging box.

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Clean Sweep: All that Toxic Crap Must Go. Start with what you use EVERY Day.

The average adult uses 12 personal care products per day. Make a list of everything you use, starting with your shower in the morning, all the way to when you turn off the light for bedtime (think shampoo, soap, toothpaste, face lotion, body lotion, chapstick, hairspray, deodorant… Wear makeup? I bet you have even more than the 12 items—I do, too!).

12 products–12 months. Start with making a clean swap for 1 product per month. I began with my body lotion and my face lotion, because they covered the largest surface area and stayed on the longest, as well as my mascara and lipgloss, because I used them everyday and they were near my eyes and mouth, in addition to the absorption factor! Then, as I ran out of something, I replaced it with a much safer alternative.

Major Toxic Ingredients to Avoid: It’s hard to narrow it down, but these are the items most often linked to cancers, autoimmune diseases, and infertility: “Fragrance”, Parabens, Phthalates, Formaldehyde, and Triclosan.

Beautycounter Flawless in Five Clean Beauty

Resources–because there is a lot of false marketing out there, and “natural”, “organic”, “plant-based” are slogans that sometimes don’t match up to what is in the bottle.

  1. Use the EWG Skin Deep Website or “Healthy Living” app for a nonprofit third-party rating of personal care products. Green means GO (safe), yellow means use with caution, and red means avoid completely!
  2. Beautycounter’s Never List. Use this a resource for what really means “Safer” and “Cleaner”. Beautycounter has set the standard for intentional ingredient selection (they ban 1,500 dangerous toxins, chemicals and irritants), along with continual screening for contaminants such as heavy metals, which are quite prominent in pressed powder makeup like eyeshadows, blush, bronzer, etc. This is a great place to shop if you don’t want to worry about having to decipher labels, because they have done the work for you. Message me if I can help. I advocate for this brand because I love the transparency, the advocacy in DC for better laws, and amazing performance that doesn’t make me miss my conventional stuff one bit!

Month 4: Clean Up your Indoor Pollution

Quick Fix: ADD MORE INDOOR PLANTS

Not only do plants look gorgeous for decorating, but there are several varieties that have been linked to detoxing the air! My favorites are Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, Ferns, and Aloe Vera plants. (and lucky for me, they are also easy to keep alive!).

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“So, how do houseplants clean the air? Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. But that’s not all—microorganisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil, and these microbes are also responsible for much of the cleaning effect.” Read more…

Clean Sweep: BECOME A SHOE-FREE HOUSEHOLD

Why? In a nutshell, your shoes tract in a ridiculous amount of BACTERIA: (421,000 units and 9 different strands, to be exact). In a study by the University of Arizona, researchers found 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the shoe, including E. coli, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract 🤢.

Additionally, herbicides/pesticides, heavy metals–like lead–and feces, all get tracked in by shoes. SO, leaving them at the front door, instead of bringing all of that crap into your kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms, is a much better plan! (Plus, it means less sweeping and vacuuming!). 

Shoe Free Zone

We have a designated shoe zone by each entrance. It makes it easy to keep the shoes organized and kicked off right away, instead of walking through the house to the place you store them.

Month 5: Make the Switch to Safer Cleaning Products

Quick Fix: Get rid of anything that is “Antibacterial:

Why: They have been proven to NOT work better than plain soap and warm water, or plant-based cleaning agents, and they are linked to creating antibiotic-resistant superbugs, along with exposing you to nasty chemicals. TRICLOSAN is often found in antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, and cosmetics–it’s an antimicrobial agent to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Triclosan’s chemical structure has striking similarities to thyroid hormones and to several known endocrine disruptors including diethylstilbestrol (DES) and bisphenol A (BPA). Triclosan will be listed as an active ingredient on any product label, since it is considered a pesticide.(3) BCPP.org Avoid “anti-microbial” soaps, toothpastes and other products claiming to be antimicrobial and containing triclosan or 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol.

Clean Sweep: Switch Over to all Safer Cleaning Products for the full house!

Safe Cleaning Products

Along with the personal care industry, there is a huge lack of regulation for the Cleaning Supply market in the U.S. Companies aren’t required to disclose full ingredients, products don’t need to be tested before bringing them to the marketplace, and there are a whole lot of scary toxins, irritants and chemicals. Learn more here.

Make Simple Happen approved products:

Seventh Generation–this is a great place if you are just starting off with safer cleaning products, laundry detergents, dish soap, etc. because they will be “greener” and safer than MANY other options (they aren’t perfect, some products still contain a few irritants like SLS, but it is still a safe option!), and you can find them at your neighborhood grocery or Target store. They are also a great business model and certified BCorp.

Branch Basics–snag a starter kit of everything you need to clean your full house (bathrooms, kitchens, mirrors, etc), without any dangerous ingredients. Their starter set also makes an amazing gift. Add it to your wish list for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day!

Grab $10 off your purchase using my link: http://branchbasics.refr.cc/makesimplehappen

Humble Suds–Colorado friends, this local company is amazing and offers delivery, and refil stations around town. I am loving the All Purpose Cleaner.

Make your own cleaners! So many safe ingredient recipes on the web, using baking soda and white vinegar. I love to use DoTerra’s OnGuard Concentrate and Dr. Bronner’s Castle Soap, and make cleaners for around the house, with glass spray bottles found on Amazon.

Recap:

  • Limit Plastic (especially plastic that touches your food and water)
  • Add Purifying Plants into your home (Ferns, Aloe, Snake plants, Fiddle Leaf Figs, and Peace Lilies)
  • Ditch the Air Fresheners and Candles, and Opt for an Pure Essential Oil Diffuser instead (note, these are not oils you buy over the counter. DoTerra or Young Living would be much safer for purity and disclosure of ingredients and sourcing).
  • Swap out dangerous cleaning products for safe and effective plant-based options.
  • Ditch the toxic makeup and skin care, and choose companies who screen for dangerous ingredients (including contaminants like heavy metals), and have a safe rating through the Environmental Working Group.

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*Affiliate links are included, and when you shop those items, I may receive a small commission, which helps support this blog. Thank you.

Posted in Gift Guide, Uncategorized

The Conscious Consumer’s Simple Guide to Gift Giving

*Sharing Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales on my favorite conscious brands and products after the original post (scroll down). -XO -Amber

 

Hello lovelies! Certainly not the first or last blogger to be sharing a gift guide this season–but I did kick myself last year for not sharing a guide to more conscious consumerism (think ethically-sourced, fair-trade, sustainable, social impact-type gifts and companies that you can feel super good about supporting and receiving), so I am getting it up early, and hoping you will help me add to the list as we go along!

I love that consumers are becoming more aware of the power their purchases hold! We vote every day for the type of companies we want to see more of in the world, simply by what we choose to spend our money on. Here are some ideas on making more conscious purchases this upcoming holiday season:

1. Support your Local Movers & Shakers! Everyone loves a home-town goodie, especially handmade or one-of-a-kind, all while supporting a small business owner! A few of my favorite small business with amazing products include: “Ellie in her Element” for women’s jewelry, “Lil’ Hotties Street Salsa” for the best salsa around, and Tekst Artist, for the coolest graphic- and traditional-art that weaves inspiring quotes into the drawings. Be sure to leave a comment with some of your favorite small businesses so we can share the love!

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2. Shop certified B Corps that are using business as a force for good! These are companies that have amazing product solutions, while also thinking about the planet and communities.

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“B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how the company’s operations and business model impact its workers, community, environment, and customers.”

My favorite B Corps include Beautycounter, Everyone Products, Patagonia, Athleta, Klean Kanteen, and more. You can search for other Bcorps here. When shopping, you can also look for this logo:

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3. Select “Buy one, Donate One” Models. Such as Toms Shoes, where for every purchase of shoes made by a customer, Toms (another certified BCorp, by the way!), donates a pair of shoes to someone in need. They also have new “Giving Partners” where you can choose your style and corresponding cause. Pretty cool!

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4. Choose Companies with a deeper social impact! There are some really neat companies out there creating freedom and opportunities, specifically for women artisans around the world, as they develop beautiful products and build profitable businesses!

Check out the gorgeous accessories and home goods from Noonday Collections  a fair-trade federation member, and Bcorp, who provides no-interest loans and partners with Artisans around the world using indigenous materials and traditional skills to create modern, fashionable designs.

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Another favorite socially-conscious company is SariBari, which helps create economic freedom for women rescued from human- and sex-trafficking in India. They have amazingly beautiful products, particularly their Christmas Stockings and their Bags of all sizes and patterns, handcrafted by the women artisans.

Sari Bari Arotun Bucket Bag

5. Think Sustainably! Ditch presents that are one-time use items, especially plastic junk, and opt instead for items that can be used and enjoyed year-long. See my blog post here for some fun themes!

You can also find really need products that have been made out of recycled materials, like the amazing Rothy’s Shoes, made out of old plastic waterbottles! b013f683-f84b-40b9-bf5b-bc85bb37f9b4_EB-Right.20191028220250297

Don’t forget about eco-friendly gift wrapping, as well–minimize the amount of wrapping, choose recycled and recyclable materials, or reusable bags. Love the ideas shared here on the “EcoCult” site.

6. Give the gift of Health while supporting really cool businesses! There are so many great health-supporting gifts out there:

A gift set of nontoxic cleaning supplies–two of my favorite companies are Branch Basics  (reach out if you want a discount code) and Humble Suds. The ingredients are safe and amazing, and they get the job done, with beautiful packaging too!

A customized clean-beauty gift box. Happy to create one for you with my favorite clean and safe brands, or you can shop my Beautycounter link here, for gorgeous gift sets and only the best ingredients from a certified B Corp, with a whole wing of the company dedicated to advocacy and changing the beauty industry for the better!

Other Ideas: 

  • Gift Experiences instead of Stuff
  • Make a Donation to a Worthy Cause in Someone’s Honor
  • Provide a Service for Loved Ones as Your Gift
  • If you Shop Amazon, make sure to use the Amazon Smile link and designate a nonprofit you wish to benefit. Same full website and products, but Amazon gifts a portion of your purchase to charities!

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Here are a list of great Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals happening for companies and products that have health, wellness and sustainability as a priority (listed in alphabetical order). I will continue to update as sales pop up on favorite brands!

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  1. Athleta–Certified B corp, sustainably focused fashion. 30% off with code LAYERUP
  2. Beautycounter Safe and Clean Ingredient Makeup, and personal care products for women, men and kids. Certified B Corp and Women-Owned. 15% off sitewide and free shipping on orders over $50. No code needed.*
  3. Beeswrap sustainable food wrap alternative. 20% off with promo code BEETHANKFUL
  4. Branch Basics: Nontoxic cleaners (that really work)! 20% off of all starter kids with promo code: GIVECLEAN
  5. Klean Kanteen Water Bottles & More: Family-owned, Certified B Corp. 25% off sitewide. No promo code needed.
  6. Pact–Sustainable, Ethical Fashion (Fair-trade, organic, recyclable and stylish). Up to 70% sitewide, no code needed.
  7. Pela Eco-friendly Phone Cases. Up to 50% off sitewide. No code needed
  8. PlanetBox Sustainable Bento Lunch Boxes: 25% off Sidewide (Use promo code PLANETTHANKS20)
  9. Mighty Nest Eco-friendly and healthy monthly subscription membership. First month $3 and then only $11 after. Products are always valued over $11. (Use promo code “FIRSTFIX3)
  10. Native--Safe and clean-ingredient deodorant and other personal care products. $10 off a purchase of $30 or more with code “BLACK”
  11. NetZero Co.waste-free product solutions and really cool gift ideas. 25% off storewide with promo code GFCM
  12. Noonday fair trade, artisan-made jewlery. Another certified Bcorp, too! Up to 75% off on select styles. No promo code needed.
  13. Primally Pure: Spend $50, get a free deodorant! I recommend the dry shampoo! Save an additional 10% with my referral code: http://fbuy.me/v/amber_699 
  14. Stasher Bag food-grade silicone “ziplocks” that are reusable and dishwasher safe! Certified B Corp and Women owned. 25% off sitewide, no code needed.
  15. Swell Bottle 25% off with code HOLIDAY19
  16. Toms Shoes–Certified B Corp and awesome social missions! 30% off sitewide with code “THANKFUL”

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Am I missing one of your favs? Do share! And let me know if you see deals for Rothy’s, Native, Primally Pure, or Cote Nail Polish, please!

*Affiliate link. As an educator, I may receive a small commission for your purchase. 

Posted in Gift Guide, Uncategorized

A Simple Guide for Practical, Themed-Gifts, OVER more toys :)

Let me start by saying we have very generous loved ones, and are super thankful. But, because we, as a family, are in a continuous effort to cut down on clutter and over-consumption, in addition to instilling deeper gratitude in our children, we are a bit more intentional with our wish lists (and I am hearing this much more often from other friends, as well!)

The last few years, we have tried to do the following things, and it has really helped create a deeper sense of appreciation for gifts, spur adventure and outdoor fun, and allow for enjoyment throughout the year!

  1. Before Birthdays or Christmas, we do a clean-out of items we no longer wear or play with to be donated and passed along to friends. Each person gets a medium-sized box that they fill up, and create space fore new items that will come for the special days. It helps us keep on top of the clutter, and the kids are part of the donation process.
  2. Early on in the holidays, we think of other families that are in need, and often “adopt” a family, or pick out gifts from a wish list of a favorite nonprofit. The kids help pick, wrap and deliver the presents so they fully understand how their actions are helping others. So thankful this was instilled in me from my mom, and I know our kids really love it too.
  3. When it comes time to create a wish list for ourselves, or for our littles, we make a list of all of the fun activities we enjoy together or individually, and how our loved ones might contribute to helping with those adventures. And we try to do the same when gift giving for friends and family, in return!

*P.S. When you do shop online, be sure to visit Amazon Smile, and select your favorite charity. Same products, but Amazon donates a percentage of your purchase to the nonprofit you have linked!

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Here are a few ideas for themed-“Activity” gifts we have received or given:

Family Experience Gift Ideas:

  • Zoo or Children’s Museum Memberships–they are one of our favorite family gifts to receive, because we get to use them all year round!! (bonus, each time we visit, we think of the special people who have gifted us the membership. It makes a great group gift).

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  • A weekend trip to the mountains–time away together to connect and refresh, is always special! (Great Wolf Lodge, perhaps) 🙂

  • An annual State Parks Pass is also a wonderful gift, promoting adventure and enjoying nature throughout the year (or a National Parks Pass for the really adventurous).

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Photo credit: On the Luce 

  • Themed Gifts that allow for fun experiences

    For example, last year we asked for camping gear for Christmas. Family helped us complete our set of sleeping bags, headlamps, a little camping stove, and camping dishes! We all loved it, and the kids still use the sleeping bags for sleepovers and movie nights year-round. (PS The kids-size sleeping bags from Coleman are awesome and come in fun colors too).

Camping themed gift set

  • Sporting and Artistic Class Gifts

    Make a list of extracurricular activities your kids love (Gymnastics, Dance, Flag Football, etc). Family and Friends often love to gift a few items needed for the class, along with chipping in for the fees.  Example: Our Family created a fun Basketball Gift for my son. We filled a new sports bag with basketball shoes, basketball shorts and a t-shirt, a new ball, and a water bottle, and then covered the activity fees for his league. He loved it, and it was all put to use for the winter basketball season! (the grownup version of this could be a class workout pass, and new workout pants!).

Basketball Themed Gift Set

  • Movie or Play Tickets

You could gift a special outfit to wear to the event, or a book that complements it, if wanted to have a tangible item to give along with the tickets. We love getting our daughter, and a few of her close friends, ballet tickets, and then a special dress for her to wear to the performance (and beyond) each year.

Ballet Themed Gift

There are so many other fabulous ideas out there! I am particularly loving this Experience Gift Guide printable from Big Life Journal! Click here to read the full post

What are some of your favorite practical, but fun, family-friendly gift ideas?

Posted in Gift Guide, Uncategorized

Simple and Healthy Stocking Stuffer Ideas

🌲 STOCKINGS  (Part 1: Mommy & Daddy)

Shhhhh…don’t tell my family, but I stuff the stockings for Saint Nick each year! And since I am in charge, I get to pick the items! Yay!

I always go for a mixture of necessities (because honestly why spend $$ on crap you won’t ever use, or a bunch of candy that accrues pounds and dental bills? 🤷‍♀️) and some nice personal care products, or sustainable upgrades, because at the holidays it feels good to spoil yourself a bit, and also have a healthy benefit!

I also am SUPER intentional about the type of companies I support looking for certified B Corporation (several brands in those stockings!) and companies that disclose all ingredients, are working towards sustainability solutions, and have the consumers wellness at the forefront of their decision making! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Here are our actual stockings for this Christmas.

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The Short and Simple: NO one-time use junk, safe & nontoxic ingredients, sustainable upgrades, and all items we use, and from companies we love to support.

Her Stocking (okay–MY stocking!):

  1. Organic and Eco-Friendly Body Scrubber by C.A.R.E Cleanlogic. I actually picked this one up at TJMaxx for a great price. Excited to ditch the plasticky loofah for this goodie.
  2. Cote Traveler Layering Nail Polish Set–I am so excited to do a fun ombre look with these colors. Best of all, their polishes are 10-free (free of ten dangerous toxins typically found in nail polishes), and still super high performing. Snagged this set during one of their large pre-holiday sales.
  3. Beautycounter Eye Sparkler Palette *from the limited-edition holiday sets. Love these fun layering eye shadows–with super clean-ingredients, and sustainably- and ethically-sourced mica. Does your beauty company audit their full supply chains? Love this makeup, and the compacts are cardboard and can be recycled when you use up the shadows! Sweet.
  4. Bamboo Toothbrushes with Rainbow Bristles from Zero Waste Cartel. I love these eco-friendly goodies, and they make me super happy whenever I brush my teeth, so stocking up on another case.
  5. Flip and Tumble Reusable Mesh Produce Bags. These ones are super high quality with a drawstring locking closure. Excited to continue making my grocery shopping more sustainable.

His Stocking:

  1. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Peppermint Lip Balm. A favorite in our home, and this flavor has a nice holiday touch. Helps with chapped lips and no yucky ingredients. Plus a really great company to support!
  2. Really cool Blue Light blocking glasses from Prive Revaux. The hubs needs to protect his eyes from his laptop and phone. He keeps stealing my cool pair, so he is getting his own! (Jaime Foxx approved).
  3. Travel Necessities with clean, safe ingredients. A cute little Native Deodorant from the Target travel bin. These are the minis from Beautycounters Travel Companion Gift Set.* I broke up the set and kept a few for me, and a few for him 🙂 (Secret–this daily shampoo allowed us to break up with “Head & Shoulders” for good. It’s amazing how your body responds when you aren’t using crap on it! It heals and nourishes itself!).
  4. Stainless Steel Reusable Straws. I actually pulled these out of my Mighty NestSubscription Box (shhh….!). I thought they would look really fetching in cocktail glasses! Our other reusable straws are an assortment of rainbow colors. He doesn’t dig them. So these will be a bigger hit, and encourage a “green” alternative to straws.

HAPPY STOCKING STUFFING!

xo-Amber

*Affiliate link. As an educator for the company, I may receive a small commission for your purchase. 

2018 stockings (but all still amazing and relevant goodies!)

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Daddy:

1. Klean Kanteen  food-grade safe, stainless steel waterbottle (please, please please ditch the plastic endocrine-disrupting bottles) also a family owned #bcorp and super high quality. We love this brand! (These are the classic 20 oz bottles)

2. Schmidt’s Naturals Charcoal + Magnesium natural deodorant (no aluminum, no artificial fragrance) and the charcoal is a fun way of gifting “coal”—I sprinkled a few fun “coal” gifts throughout each stocking😉

3. Beautycounter’s new Counterman safe ingredient shave cream and aftershave! It is so hard to find clean ingredient men’s products! So excited for these. Also a #bcorp!

4. everyone unscented Body Lotion with pure plant extracts and coconut oil—no parabens, synthetic fragrances or gmo’s, and…

5. Everyone men’s soap, which is a shampoo and body wash that smells great, thanks to earth-derived scents, and no scary secrets…and everyone is…you guess it, a fellow B Corporation doing good things for our communities and environment! P.S. I have been snagging this brand at TJMaxx for a great price in their clean beauty section!!!

Mommy’s stocking:

1. côte nontoxic nail polish that also is super awesome. Snagged the fun Christmas Red no 37 and the gorg rose gold shimmer No 13! Cote is also part of a #counteractcoalition working to change the personal care industry in the U.S. and advocate for better beauty laws! 🙌

2. Beautycounter’s Balancing Charcoal Mask is a favorite of mine to detox pores and refine skin texture.

3. Another Beautycounter favorite, the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer with mineral SPF, which I use daily and love the lightweight coverage and glow it provides!

4. @doterra Lemon spray. So many great uses. I love to keep mine in the kitchen after cooking to eliminate strong smells. 🍋

5. Klean Kanteen safe and amazing waterbottle! I love this limited-edition pink one from the clearance section of target. Yahoo

6. Norwex body cloths, which just require water to clean, thanks to their amazing microfiber technology and silver which is antibacterial and self cleaning. These are awesome for your gym bag, as well, because they don’t get stale and yucky!

7. Desert Essence Activated Charcoal Toothpaste. Free of many nasties and cleans and whitens..also a certified #bcorp!

Can’t wait for Santa to come! Do you have any other favorites you love for your stockings?

Find the Kids Stocking Ideas here!

Posted in Gift Guide

Fun (yet Practical) Stocking Stuffer Ideas for the Kids!

STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS:
Ok, if you saw my first post, we love to gift useful gifts in our family stockings (I am so over the plastic junk toys, weird trinkets, or other random crap that never gets used, all to fill up a dumb sock #gowastefree). Instead, we are intentional about the gifts in our stockings, budget for them like gifts, and find items that are all things we use and love, companies that fit our family values. They don’t have to be expensive, either. I often find the goodies during end-of-the-season clearance, flash sales, etc. and then save them for Christmas. We also love to support companies with awesome social missions or special care to be eco-friendly…bonus if they are a certified B Corporation, so you’ll find many below.IMG_8323 (1).jpg

For Little Miss:

  1. A Beautycounter lip jelly. She thinks it is pretty dang cool to have a “big girl lipgloss” and these jellies are the BOMB! They are lightweight, not sticky, flavored slightly with stevia (yum) and have just the slightest color so they look tasteful on all ages. Best of all, super clean ingredients. Grab them in a set of 5, and split them up for a handful of fun gifts or stocking stuffers–or some for you, too!
  2. Bamboo Toothbrush with pink bristles! Snagged these from Zero Waste cartel and they are even kid sizes, which are a little harder to find for the amazing eco-friendly versions. My kids actually really love getting new toothbrushes, especially with fun colors. Check out the rainbow bristle versions, too!
  3. Disney “Frozen” Gloves (Practical for winter, and she LOVES anything “Frozen”, so there ya go!). Scored these from Target.
  4. Prayer Cards: I picked this pack up at TJMaxx, but they do sell them from the company Eccolo, on Amazon too. They are beautifully painted and each card has a beautiful biblical verse. Excited to read these together. You could sub in a little notebook and pen set here instead.
  5. Silicone Snack Tubes: Okay, so technically these are frozen Popsicle molds, but they work great for on-the-go snacking, and are food-grade safe, plus you can wash in the dishwasher!  And they come in a set you can divide between your stockings.

For Little Man:

  1. Bamboo Toothbrush with blue bristles! Snagged these from Zero Waste cartel and they are even kid sizes, which are a little harder to find for the amazing eco-friendly versions. My kids actually really love getting new toothbrushes, especially with fun colors. Check out the rainbow bristle versions, too!
  2. Dr. Bronner Lip Balm in peppermint. Don’t all kids love chapstick? Mommy loves that it works great for dry lips in winter, an peppermint is great for holidays.
  3. Grow Mindset Conversation Cards from Big Life Journal: These are beautifully illustrated, and have conversation prompts for kids and their grownups on resilience, gratitude, growth mindset and kindness.
  4. Broncos Socks from TJMaxx, because….why not?! 🙂 My kids love the Broncos and it will be a practical gift for winter. score!
  5. Silicone Snack Tubes: Okay, so technically these are frozen Popsicle molds, but they work great for on-the-go snacking, and are food-grade safe, plus you can wash in the dishwasher!  And they come in a set you can divide between your stockings.

2018 Stockings (but all still relevant!):48423384_10217665449097577_8042349763821043712_o (1)

(These are our kiddos actual stockings for 2018. I’ll update once I have these year’s stockings shopped for, but since many of you start early, I wanted to get some resources up for sustainable and socially-conscious gifts!) 

FOR LITTLE MAN:

1. A jumbo size of our favorite Alaffia Bubble Bath in Coconut Strawberry—big fans of bubble baths in our house! Even better, it has ethically-traded, super safe & gentle ingredients, and a company on a mission for improving gender equality and alleviating poverty in communities they partner with throughout Africa. 🤩 (Find it at Sprouts, Whole Foods, or even Amazon)

2. Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Organic Lip Balm. Our kids love having their own “chapstick”. This one works great and I don’t have to worry about scary parabens, fragrances or dyes, plus it truly is a lifesaver for dry lips in the winter.

3. Klean Kanteen kiddo waterbottles (these are the 16 oz)! We love this family-owned certified B Corporation company and their safe waterbottles (#ditchtheplastic!) and Target had these super cute limited edition designs on sale after summer for 50% off! The kids will love them. I always grab the sport cap version to prevent spills.

4. Stasher reusable food-safe sandwich and snack bags. My kids L.O.V.E. to snack, snack, snack and these are awesome for on-the-go and good for the earth and our bodies because they are free from hormone-distrusting chemicals. The kids feel special having their favorite colors, and do a remarkable job of keeping track of these! (Shown in his stocking: Snack Citrus and Sandwich Topaz)

LITTLE MISS:

1. Beautycounter * “Super Duper Clean” Body Wash and “Nice Do” Shampoo. Gluten and Nut free, all earth-derived scents (no artificial fragrance!) and works sooooo well for safe cleaning, and getting out tangles from her hair! Also a certified B Corporation Company!

2. Defy & Inspire Nontoxic Nail Polish from @Target because little bodies especially need safe-ingredient products, and their colors and sparkles are super cute! I also love Ella & Mila and Cote Brands.

3. Narwhal Klean Kanteen waterbottle ️, and a set of Stasher bags in her favorite colors, that I got on a HUGE sale from @gmadeals! (Shown in her stocking: Snack Raspberry and Sandwich Topaz)

Other Fun & Useful Stocking Ideas:

Stainless Steel Straws (We love Sand Straws)

Art Supplies

Hair Bows

Hat and Mittens

…What would you add? Feel free to comment with some of your favorite useful stocking stuffer ideas!

 

Yay #Christmas!!!!

 

*Affiliate Link.

Posted in Back to School Wellness, Family Health & Wellness, Uncategorized

Sustainable & Healthy School Essentials!

Sharing some of our favorite SUSTAINABLE Waste-Free (ie: reusable, recyclable and/or compostable) School Favorites, particularly for lunch and snack, for this new school year… or whenever you are on-the-go with your littles. I happen to also own a Yumbox for myself–it’s like my personal Smorgasbord away from home!

Sure, you invest a little more $ up front on reusable options, but I assure you, you save lots of money in the long run , and provide your kids with healthier non-plastic options, while simultaneously helping mother earth 🌍! 

P.S. I added lots of promo codes for even more savings. Scroll down…

Sustainable Lunches

Our family’s purchasing decisions come down to the following criteria:

1. Safety (clean & safe ingredients and/or materials for our bodies and endocrine systems. That means no known carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals),

2. Ethics of the Company (Transparency of the ingredients, and ALL of them, Sustainability efforts for packaging and products, Certified BCorps, and Certified Leaping Bunny–cruelty free, are a bonus! I will always support these companies first).

3. Likability. We actually have to use and love the products before I will invest in additional options, or recommend to friends and family!

Here are our most favorite On-the-Go Kid Essentials:

  1. Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Waterbottles--Super Durable, fun patterns, and a really cool Bcorp and sustainbility-focused company.
  2. YumBox bento boxes–All food safe materials, BPA-free and phthalate-free. And they are easy to open for littles, everything stays in their individual compartment without leaking, and you can throw the trays in the dishwasher! LOVE ours. They also fit in almost all popular brand lunch bags, with a flat icepack and a little room to spare. Use code “Try20” for 20% off your first purchase online.
  3. LunchSkins Dishwasher-safe reusable bags can be used again and again (I personally like the zipper tops, over the velcro), and their recyclable/compostable paper bags are easy to use once and toss responsibly. This is good for super little ones who may accidentally lose or toss the reusable ones 😉 Use code “2019LS” for 10% off online. You can also find them at Target!
  4. Stasher Bags!  The coolest sealable food-grade silicone reusable bags–they come in many fun sizes and colors AND are dishwasher safe on the top rack. We have obsessed over these for a long time now. Bonus: A women-owned, certified BCorp and of member of “1% for the Planet” (1% of all sales go to high-impact non-profits that protect our oceans).

There are so many great alternatives to one-time-use ziplocks and paper sacks in the marketplace these days—let’s make this school year a much more sustainable and healthier one for all! 👌👌👌⭕️⭕️

Reach out with any questions! Much love, Amber