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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hard Night Good Morning Facial Cocktail

I received a sample for Hard Night Good Morning Facial Cocktail. It is made by D'Andra Simmons. I had not heard of this company before. It is aloe based, and it contains powerful antioxidants, essential oils, and a proprietary blend of botanical extracts. It also has Gatuline and Osilift in it. I'm still unsure of the exact ingredients, as they are not listed in the literature or website. The product promises to tighten, tone, and firm the skin. It also is supposed to invigorate and hydrate the complexion. According to the company it is formulated with the finest ingredients to address the visible signs of aging.

My work schedule varies. I work many late nights and early mornings. I'm also a mom to 2 busy boys. When I heard about this cream I thought it sounded like a miracle in a little jar. The price told me that it'd better be a miracle. A 1 fl. oz. bottle sells for $155. There is a whole line with am cleanser, pm cleanser/makeup remover, facial cocktail/serum, eye cream, detox toner, daytime moisturizer, nighttime moisturizer, and detox mineral mask.

I've used the facial cocktail for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks of use, my wrinkles are less pronounced and my skin is smoother and softer. It smells really good. I did get complements about my complexion. I have always had dark circles under my eyes that it did nothing for (as it says to avoid contact with the eye area.) In all fairness, though, I did not try the cream specifically for the eye area. I have searched my entire life for something to help the purpleness under my eyes go away.

The Hard Night Good Morning line is currently on sale for 50% off. I tend to be a thrifty shopper and would buy it on sale. I have a problem spending $155 for a little jar of face cream.

I have a sample packet left and will give it away to the first person to leave a comment here. Just leave a comment about how you try to look refreshed in the morning when you've had a hard night.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is POM Wonderful Wonderful?

I've seen the unique bottles of POM in the grocery store but didn't try it until recently. I was asked by POM if I would like to sample their juice. So upon receiving a small package in the mail from POM, I tried POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice for the first time. The tartness reminds me of cranberry juice, and it's not as sweet as concord grape juice. ( I love cranberry juice and usually drink a glass of concord grape juice each day.) POM sells a variety of juices, POMx tea, even POMx iced coffee, POMx bars, POMx pills. A 16oz bottle sells for between $4-$5.

According to POM's promotional literature:
  • POM juice has more antioxidants than red wine, concord grape juice, blueberry juice, black cherry juice, and acai juice.
  • POM Wonderful is the only brand guaranteed to contain 100% authentic pomegranate juice.
  • POM contains to added sugar, preservatives, colors, or cheap filler juices
  • POM grows their own fruit (in the San Joaquin Valley,) squeezes it with their own presses, and manufactures their own bottles.
  • POM is guaranteed to be made exclusively from the "wonderful" variety of pomegranates. The wonderful variety is known for it's unique combination of superior antioxidants, delicious taste, and deep crimson color. There are different varieties of pomegranates, not all have the health benefits of the wonderful variety.
  • POM Wonderful has proved $32 million to fund medical research (primarily in cardiovascular, prostate, and erectile health) 45 published clinical studies in peer reviewed journals document the benefits of drinking 8oz of POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice daily. It is important to note that the medical claims are based on medical research that POM financed. One study appears to have been conducted using only 13 test subjects and 2 others with only 10 test subjects.
For more information you can check out POM's website at There's also some great recipes there.

*A word about antioxidants - antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes that prevent oxidative damage to the body. When our cells use oxygen they naturally produce free radicals which can cause damage. The body also picks up free radicals from sun exposure, pollution, stress, alcohol, and cigarette smoke. The oxidative damage done by free radicals can cause heart disease, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, and rheumatoid arthritis. Antioxidants can prevent and repair the damage done by free radicals. Common antioxidants are Vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, flavenoids/polyphenols, lycopene, lutein, lignan, and co-enzyme Q10.
POM Wonderful did support using lab tests on animals until PETA lodged a boycott, The company issued a statement in January 2007 saying that it would cease all further animal testing. They are now listed on PETA's list of "Good Guys."
here are some more links about the controversy:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recipe - Pumpkin Bisque Soup

The first time I had pumpkin bisque soup was at a Christmas party about a week ago. I fell in love with it. It is now one of my favorites & I wanted to share.

3 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/8 c. chives
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
dash of pepper to taste
pepper to taste
2 cans of unseasoned pumpkin
32 oz. of chicken broth
2 cups of milk

melt butter in a large pot; add celery seed, chives, bay leaf, and thyme. Saute for a few seconds until chives appear wilted. Add the pumpkin, broth, pepper, and basil and bring to a simmer. Stir in the milk and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A new discovery

I'm a sucker for shoes & handbags, especially when they are eco-friendly. I've found a new website (at least it's new to me, lol) at Endless. They sell lines like SAK's Eco Harmony that are made bamboo yarns that are dyed with non-toxic and azo-free pigments with recycled cotton linings.

Just type in "eco" to the search bar at the top their website & it will pop up with tons of eco-friendly shoes & handbags. There are much more than I ever knew existed. Some items look more eco-conscious than others.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Book Review - Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano

About a month ago I started reading Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano. While I was out perusing books one day with my boys, this book caught my eye.

This book is full of tips & helpful tidbits. The website at is also full of information, recipes, and also has givaways.

The book has:

  • a green lifestyle checklist to help you see areas in your life that you need improvement

  • tips on making your home non-toxic

  • healthy eating, with tasty looking recipes, explains organic food, labeling practices, truthfulness in advertising, and covers best fish to chose and which to avoid.

  • covers skin care, face care, cleansing, moisturizing, body care, lotion, hair care, and includes product recommendations

  • the author recommends sesame oil for body oil with a few drops of essential oil. says that sesame oil penetrates the skin easily, contains antioxidants, and has a reputation for slowing the aging process.

  • cosmetic & body care ingredients to avoid - classifies them as red alert & orange alert ingredients

  • covers shopping habits & avoiding items manufactured in sweatshops. This section also covers cutting back on buying items that you don't really need. This is not only economical, but it cuts down on consuming stuff, like newspapers, paper cups from the coffee shops, etc.

  • exercise - includes yoga poses, arm strengthening, bottom firming & toning, and ab exercises.

  • tips on green travel

  • tips on green gift giving
This is an excellent book for someone starting to live a green lifestyle. The checklist offered in the book is really good at pointing out weak areas that need improvement. Someone who has already been travelling down the road of greeness may find the book has a lot of information that the reader already knows and a little simplistic. Although a refressher is not a bad idea. At least in my own life I find myself slipping, getting lazy, and falling back on bad habits.

Next up on my reading list is The Gorgeously Green Diet

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chlorine rinsed vegetables

I was forwarded the following e-mail a few days ago:

"Good to know.

The following is information from a farmer who grows and packages carrots for IGA, METRO, LOBLAWS, etc. The small cocktail (baby) carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots - most people probably know this already. What you may not know and should know is the following: Once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them)this is the same chlorine used in your pool).

Since they do not have their skin or natural protective covering, they give them a higher dose of chlorine. You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots. This is the chlorine which resurfaces. At what cost do we put our health at risk to have esthetically pleasing vegetables? Chlorine is a very well-known carcinogen, which causes Cancer. I thought this was worth passing on. Pass it on to as many people as possible in hopes of informing them where these carrots come from and how they are processed.I used to buy those baby carrots for vegetable dips never again!! "

I decided to do some research. I don't like to take risks when it comes to my health and the food I ingest. I also don't like to perpetuate false information.

Some baby carrots are made by whittling down larger carrots. They are treated with a chlorine solution to kill bacteria, (but are rinsed with water.) According to Snopes most baby carrots today are bred to be more sweeter than larger carrots because the sweetness appeals more to people, especially children. Also the brighter orange color and more even coloring has been bred into them.

It is also worthy to note there are other vegetables in the produce department of your store that are pre-washed with chlorine, baby carrots chlorine content is not any different that those other vegetables. Tap water also contains chlorine. So if you drink plain tap water, that should also be a concern.

Per the Snopes web site, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency rinsing produce with a chlorine solution is an accepted, current practice for antimicrobial purposes. It is approved by the United States' FDA with strict rules for what concentration of chlorine can be used and how long the carrots can be exposed. However organic growers use a citrus based non toxic solution.
An article from Consumer Reports stated that “Manufacturers often treat produce—even organic produce—with a mild chlorine solution to disinfect it and extend its shelf life. But the concentrations are tiny compared with those used in, say, cleaning products, and they pose no known risk to humans. If you’d prefer to avoid the chemical anyway, choose produce fresh off a farm stand, or grow your own.”

The white film that appears on baby-cut carrots, however is not the chlorine coming to the surface. The white film or “blush” would appear on any cut carrot from your own garden that you put in your refrigerator for a couple of days.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Benefits of Massage

Not only does massage feel got, but it has other benefits.
  • It's good for your mood. Massage can ease depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
  • Massage eases pain. Chronic tension headache sufferers have fewer episodes after neck and shoulder massages. According to Dr. Daniel Hinshaw massage can be as powerful as morphine for helping those in pain.
  • It calms children with ADHD. According to a small study of children with ADHD, those who got a 20 minute massage twice a week for a month behave better in school.
  • enhances immunity by improving lymph flow.
  • improves circulation - which helps get more oxygen to vital organs as well as improving the condition of the skin
  • helps sore muscles feel better, reduces spasms & cramping, increases joint flexibility
  • Reduces Hypertension - stimulates the vagus nerve, which regulates blood pressure. In a 2005 study patients at the University of South Florida who received 10, 10 minute massages over a 3 week period had improved blood pressure
However some should speak to a medical professional before having a massage, such as those with burns or open wounds, severe osteoporosis, unhealed fractures, persons with a fever, deep vein thrombosis, cancer, or recent heart attacks. Pregnant women should seek a massage therapist trained in prenatal massage. Massage done improperly can also lead to damage, so get your massage from a trained massage professional.
Samuel, Neena. "Hands On Pain Relief." Readers Digest April 2008: 47
Ehrenfeld, Temma. "Five Surprising Benefits of Massage." Newsweek 4 Sept. 2008.
"Benefits of Massage." Editorial Staff. Body Sense Fall 2001
The Mayo Clinic

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ecostore Review and Giveaway

Ecostore has been in business in New Zealand for 20 years. They offer baby care products, bath & body care, hair care products, household cleaners, and pet care items. According to their website all of their products are made from plant and mineral based ingredients and free of toxic chemicals. Their slogan is "No Nasty Chemicals."Their products are available on-line and at Meijer stores, if one happens to be in your area. Ecostore USA always offers free shipping on orders of $25 and more.

I was contacted by Ecostore USA to try a couple of their products and write a review. I decided to try the Rosemary Orange shampoo and Lemongrass soap. I was eager for the package to arrive and to try the products. The packaging used for shipping the items were even environmentally friendly: the packaging peanuts made from soy, the news print, packing tape, packing slip, and box all made from recyclable paper.

Lemongrass soap
I loved the shape of the bar of soap. A 2.7 oz bar sells for $4.00. The sides were rounded and it fit easily in my hands. I loved the lemony smell. It didn't dry my skin like some soaps do. The ingredients of the Lemongrass soap are:
Sodium Palmate (palm oil)
Sodium Cocoate (coconut oil)
Sodium chloride (salt)
Vegetable Glycerine
Tetra Sodium Etidronate and Tetra Sodium EDTA (antioxidants used to preserve the stability of vegetable oils in soap base. Derived from vinegar. Safe for skin)
Lemongrass oil
Titanium Dioxide

Rosemary Orange Shampoo
The shampoo cleaned my hair well without drying it or leaving residue. it left my hair soft. When I first saw the price for the shampoo $11 for 6.8 fl oz, I thought that was expensive (being the thrifty person that I am.) Ecostore's products are super concentrated, so a little goes a long way. I've been using it for about 2 weeks and I still have nearly 3/4 of the bottle left. The ingredients of the Rosemary Orange Shampoo are:
Lauryl-glucoside (from glucose)
Derivatives from coconut and palm oil - olefin sulphonate
Polyol Coconut Fatty Acid Ester
Sodium Hydroxymethyl Glycinate (from natural amino acid)
Citric Acid
Certified Organic Cider Vinegar
Essential oils of Rosemary Cineol, Orange Sweet Organic, Pine Scotch, Sage and Cypress.

Now for the giveaway -I'm so happy to hold my first blog giveaway! To enter (US residents only, please) do any or all of the following for each separate entry. Leave a separate comment for each entry:
  • Check out the items for sale at & leave a comment about which 2 items you would like to try if you win.
  • Sign up for the NO NASTY CHEMICALS newsletter at blog ( & leave a comment here saying that you did.
  • Follow Ecostore USA on Twitter @ecostoreusa & tweet about this giveaway
  • become a fan of Ecostore USA on Facebook.
  • subscribe to or follow this blog
  • blog about this give away & post the link here in you comment
Contest ends at midnight Monday, November 2nd. Winner will have 72 hours to reply to my winner notification email.
Update - Winner is Nycole at - Thank-you to all who entered.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"If I make one tiny positive change today, I consider myself green. It can be as simple as flicking off a light switch or buying an organic
apple. My motto is one change makes a difference, and if you can make
tow, that's even better!" Sophie Uliano, Gorgeously Green 8 Simple steps to an Earth-Friendly Life.
The above quote is from a book that I just started reading. I'm so excited! So far I've only read the introduction, but the book looks like an informative and awesome read. The books offers eco-friendly tips in the areas of beauty, home, fitness, style, food, travel, and gardening. So I eagerly await finishing the book and being able to blog about the results.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Natural Hair Color

I've colored my hair on and off since I was 15. My hair was a dirty-dishwater color that I couldn't stand, so I lightened it. Then about 8 years ago I decided to try red. I liked red; it looked good with my skin tone. It made me feel good too, more vibrant.

I made the decision about 2 years ago to use natural products in my hair and stay away from synthetic chemicals as much as I can. After showering there seemed to be tons of hair left in the tub and lots of hair left in my comb after combing my hair. I was getting concerned. I'd seen the older women with thin hair and bald patches. I didn't want that to be me. I switched to a more natural, organic shampoo. (I'd also seen the doctor and had a full blood work-up to rule out thyroid problems or some other medical condition.)

I started using henna on my hair. I loved henna. At first I was turned off by the smell, but I've since gotten used to it. The color is rich and beautiful, plus there's no roots to worry about. I also learned there are more options than just red. There's shades of brown, mahogany, chestnut, sable, and blond. Blond henna doesn't lighten hair, just brings out highlights.

Recently I decided to expand my horizons. I was at the health food store and saw some other "natural" hair care products. I decided to try Naturclolor hair color. I stopped using the henna for a few months. I put some yogurt with lactobacillus like their website suggests to remove the henna.

I opened the container, and "whew!" I smelled a pungent, unnatural aroma. This product is supposed to be natural, but it certainly smelled like chemicals. It may be more natural than the products available at the drugstore and be the "lesser of two evils." I got a shade of color from the "N" series, which is supposed to cover the grey better, but it didn't have any affect on the grey hairs. The hair color made my hair feel dry and straw like. The echinacea hair rinse that was enclosed made my hair feel silky.
After using Naturcolor I decided to stick with henna. It covers the grey, is very economical, natural, and gives my hair more body. It is fun experimenting and trying some of the recipes that are out there on the Internet to make it smell good and enhance the color. 2 of my favorite brands are Light Mountain Natural and Rainbow Henna.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Red Palm Oil as a moisturizer?

I've been using unrefined red palm oil as a moisturizer for about a year. I dab just a little on my face at night before bed. I discovered red palm oil when I saw an ad for an upscale face cream. I found out that the cream was very expensive and way out of my budget. I did some research and found out the main ingredient was red palm oil. So I bought some red palm oil to try.

The brand name cream supposedly is all natural. According to it's website it is supposed to fight aging, prevent the onset of dry crepe paper skin, restore the skin's oils that have been lost due to aging, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and give the skin a moist radiant glow. They boast that it is full of tocopherols and antioxidants.

Red Palm Oil is full of vitamin E, vitamin A, Vitamin K, and COQ10. Vitamin E is itself an antioxidant. I found that it does temporarily help in the reduction in appearance of "crepe paper skin" and fine wrinkles. Unrefined Red Palm Oil is an inexpensive, natural moisturizer.

Palm Oil is, however, shrouded by controversy. Rainforests are supposedly being deforested to make way for the palm tree plantations. This of course has an environmental impact. With such a heavy concern over climate change, many people are opposed to the use of palm oil and it's derivatives. One jar of red palm oil lasts a long time, so when the jar I have runs out I may research the effectiveness of other oils.

I searched a couple of local health food stores and was unable to find unrefined red palm oil. It is available on Amazon with a range of prices.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Coupons and Special Offers

Derma e is offering a free sample kit ($4.95 shipping) containing 10 sample packets of their most popular produts. I've not tried their products, yet, but all you have to pay is shipping.

Here are some Special offers & Coupons for some great natural products. These are all brands that I have tried & recommend :)

$1.00 off on The Natural Dentist oral care items

$1.00 off coupon for Boiron Homeopathic Children's cold & cough relief medicine - get link for coupon by clicking picture above - read about the products here.

$1.00 off on Organic Valley dairy & eggs

get $1.00 off coupon on Laura's Lean Beef - cattle never given growth hormone or antibiotics

For some more coupons & offers check out these resources

Mambo Sprouts

Delicious Living

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is your mineral make-up really mineral?

updated March 7, 2011 - Apologies for the links to the original source being dead

Here is an interesting article about testing mineral make-up. The Beauty Bunny tested 5 different kinds of mineral make-up to see if they are truly mineral. The results are interesting.

update 3/27/14

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Facial Mask

I love this facial mask! I try to use it at least a couple of times a month. It leaves my skin feeling so soft. This was emailed to me a few years ago as a forward of a forward, so I don't know who it originated with.

2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup oats
1 large whole egg, beaten
2 tsp. sugar, granulated
1/2 cup milk
1 chamomile tea bag, broken open into mixture
1 Tbsp olive oil or light sesame oil
1 tsp. lemon juice

First cleanse face with a gentle cleanser; then rinse face with warm water to open up pores. Pat dry. Mix all of the ingredients above in a glass bowl, for two mins., to ensure even mixing and to allow tea to moisten. Apply your mask evenly, avoiding eye area. Rub the mask in circular motion in order to allow the sugar to slough off any dead cells,gently! Rinse after 15-20 minutes with warm water.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Photo by Lusi via
I decided to try to live a healthier lifestyle and use less chemicals. After making the decision to be more natural in my skin and hair care regimens, I considered anti-perspirants and deodorants.

Back in September of last year, I decided to go a week without anti-perspirant. I decided to try this after reading about how antiperspirants clog your pores, preventing your body ridding itself of toxins. Then I read some other articles saying they cause cancer. Then there is the debate about the aluminum in antiperspirant being absorbed into the brain, which is linked to Alzheimer's. Well I don't know if the cancer causing element is true or not. It seems there may not be enough evidence to support either argument. You can read this article for more info: Aluminum in Deodorant

I can tell you that I need antiperspirant. I can't stand being moist. I don't want my shirts getting sweat stains, and most importantly I don't want to stink. I've tried some natural deodorants, some left me less than impressed. The crystal deodorant I tried was okay. It was better than going without, but I wouldn't wear it with a fitted shirt at work and raise my arm, if you know what I mean.

The one that I did use and was happy with was Arm & Hammer's Essentials natural deodorant. It is aluminum free and Paraben free. It has baking soda and natural plant extracts. It does contain Dipropylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, and something called Tetrasodium EDTA. Which I didn't know what they were, only that it didn't sound natural. So I looked them up. I encourage everyone to look things up if they don't know what they are. Look at a few, reputable, sources to help you get a good idea. In my next blog I will talk about these items and what I learned.
If you're feeling adventurous here is a website with a recipe for homemade deodorant:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

About Me

I've been blogging for several years on various topics, mostly beauty and health related topics. I'm a mother of two young boys, a writer, and I've been a 911 operator/public safety dispatcher.  I'm now trying to age gracefully and coming to terms with the fact I'm not 25 anymore.

As a teen I wanted to be "beautiful" and glamorous like the women in the magazines. I read every book on beauty, make-up, and hair that the local library had. It took me a few years, but I finally realized that real beauty starts on the inside. Being well groomed is important, but even more so is what is on the inside of a person.

I like make-up and girlie stuff. I've tried to live a "green" lifestyle and avoid artificial ingredients as much as possible. However, I must admit that my bank account rules most of the time, and sometimes the less expensive products win.  but I've made the move to try to be as free of artificial ingredients as possible.  Affordability is really important to me.

Lately I've been turning to less glamorous household duties like trying to figure out how to get rid of fruit flies and how to unclog a drain without harsh chemicals. I'm trying to give up chemicals in my daily routine in both cosmetics and for household cleaning. I love baking soda, vinegar, and borax. They are so versatile!

I'm learning how to feed a family nutritious and wholesome meals on a budget. For years I was hooked on pre-prepared frozen meals, the grocery store deli, and fast food. I also was tired, suffered depression, and generally felt bad. Last year I visited a naturopathic doctor and decided to change my eating habits. What a person eats really does affect how a person feels. The experience was difficult for me because I've never liked cooking.

Questions or comments? feel free to e-mail me at

Friday, June 19, 2009

My new favorite shampoo

I'm totally in love with Avalon Organics peppermint shampoo. It smells really great, but more importantly it gives my hair body. It makes my hair feel clean without harsh chemicals. According to the label it "Invigorates scalp circulation and gently cleanses as Babassu Oil restores strength and elasticity for revitalized hair." There are no lauryl or laureth sulfates and no parabens. I had been using Avalon Organics Rosemary shampoo, which I like too. The smell of rosemary is more earthy. The rosemary shampoo is supposed to build body and strengthen hair, which it does quite well.I decided to search for more natural hair care products. As I'm getting older, and after having 2 children my hair is changing. It seems to be getting thinner and has less volume. I was also alarmed at the quantity of hair left in the tub after showering. I decided to shun chemicals. Now I find less hair falling out & my bathtub drain is happier.So far I'm impressed with Avalon Organics shampoo. I look forward to trying more items that they offer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

White Chicken Chili

I tried this recipe recently & it was awesome. I really loved it! I just thought I would share. I also added some finely chopped carrots to give it some more color.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chiny Chin Chin Part 2

Today at my work, some of my female co-workers and myself had an interesting conversation about facial waxing. The conversation started when someone brought up a waxing gone wrong and had a red, irritated chin to show for it. Waxing is something that I've never tried. Among some of the methods those present used were shaving with a razor & tweezing. I, myself, stick with tweezing. Interesting fact - all of us present were under 40.Vanity? Yes. Comforting? Yes, after my previous post about my chin hair. Now I know that I'm not the only one. .

The hair on my chiny chin chin

Ugh! Today I found inch long grey hair on my chin! I couldn't believe my eyes. I'm only 35. What happened? Lately I've been dealing with the battle of aging gracefully. I'm now supposed to wear compression stockings. I have a collection of supplements. To top it off I now apparently have facial hair.