New Posts on the Way!

The month of June is “silly season” for moms. Activities are ending, other activities are starting, and we’re all just rushing from place to place, shuffling schedules and children and trying not to drop the balls like a clown in a big top.

This blog is still very much a priority for me and new posts will be up starting in July! (Posts require hours of research and intentionality – I never want to waste a reader’s precious time.) Until then, I have been active on both Facebook – at The Mom Reno – and even more so on Instagram – @themomreno – so please follow me there for lots of useful content!

Wishing you all a great end to the school year- stay tuned! xoxo

Trashing the Toxins! – Week 5

May 29. 2019

Who’s ready to trash toxic choices with me?

What’s the criteria for this series? Products need to be:

  • A better (healthier, cleaner, etc) version of a product I would ordinarily purchase. Ideally organic, but we’re going for improvements that will actually be embraced by the fam (I live in a household that still eats toaster pastries, so… baby steps).
  • A readily available item that can be easily found (either online or via multiple retail locations).
  • Sold at a “reasonable” price point. While some items might be considered upscale or boutique, I’m not trading in a $5 mascara for a $70 mascara… we are about to do an expensive home reno…
  • A realistic, unintimidating option. Nothing that will add exponential time and bother to any mom’s already nutso schedule.

With an eye towards simple, sustainable swaps in our daily routine that will lead our family towards better health, this weekly post is an attempted “toe-dip” into smarter choices. Nothing radical – just some carefully considered substitutions that can be instituted gradually. Some featured products are new, others are just new to me. 🙂

Three Cheers for Target’s Fab Browsing Filters – I love that some of our most convenient retailers like Target are riding the wave of conscious consumerism! You can now search Target online by both Health Facts (non-toxic, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, etc.) and by Sustainability Claims and Certifications (cruelty-free, non-GMO, biodegradable, etc.), making it simpler to choose a product with qualifications that are important to YOU. Just go to the category and product type you’re shopping and click the boxes to filter results. Rah Rah Rah Target!

A Darker, Craving-Crushing Chocolate Bar – As a confessed chocoholic trying to make better choices, I’ve turned to darker, richer options that will kill the craving without a crazy sugar count. Green & Black’s Organic 85% Cacao Bar and Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar (85%) are for serious fiends – they have an intense, cocoa flavor with a slightly bitter note – almost one step from a baker’s chocolate. When studies reference the heart-healthy benefits of chocolate, this is the kind they are talking about. I can have one square of either and the craving disappears without me wanting to eat the rest of the bar. You get what you pay for – the organic option sells for around $3.50 at most mass retailers and the TJ bar is a bargain $1.79, but with non-organic ingredients and with soy lecithin and natural vanilla flavor instead of organic vanilla extract. Both turn the sweet on its head.

Simple, soft everyday eyeliner

A Less Toxic but Still Luxe Eyeliner – You may not be so familiar with the BDIH-certified German brand Benecos if you live in the United States, but they’ve been big news in the natural makeup sphere overseas for a while. In 2016, Benecos’ Natural Kajal Liner was highly commended by Natural Health magazine’s International Beauty Awards, and it’s one of their many products that’s won accolades. Kajal, a natural kohl that produces a soft but intense line, is simple to apply and I love how the brown gives a defined yet natural look for everyday wear. All products from the line are non-GMO, soy, gluten and cruelty-free. I was able to find this liner at Target for only $7.99 and it also looks to be available directly through their North American distributor True Natural’s website for $8.99.

A safer choice for dishes
(See the magnets? lol)

An Alternative to Dirty Dishwasher Detergent – How has this never been a priority for us before? Swapping a product that we probably partly ingest seems like a total no-brainer. This week, I tried the Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Powder (75 oz for around $6.50) and was really pleased with the results. The dishes and glassware came out clean and sparkly with no residue left behind. I’m used to using a gel but chose the powder option from this brand due to the many favorable reviews (customers seemed to prefer the powder over the liquid). It’s not perfect – I haven’t found a dishwasher detergent that is – but it’s leaps and bounds better than the big box retailer jug that we were using before and it’s an affordable swap. The former says if ingested, call a Poison Control Center. This one just says drink water and consult a physician. LOL. It’s USDA Certified 87% Biobased and Seventh Generation is a Certified B Corporation. I’m a convert. Available at most supermarkets, drugstores and mass retailers – click here for a store locator (which includes price info).

A Swipe-able Baby Lotion for All-Over Softness – In Trashing the Toxins – Week Two, I swapped my eczema-prone daughter to this EWG-verified shampoo and body wash ($14.39 on Amazon) and loved how gentle it was for her skin (and for my makeup brushes!). This week, I ordered the New Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Fragrance Free Daily Hydra Lotion ($12.95 on their site) to accompany it – and I don’t know if I’m giving it back to her. It sinks right in and turns rough skin smooth with oatmeal, shea butter and jojoba oil. It’s not greasy, thick or sticky but leaves this lovely subtle soft glow and it’s truly fragrance-free (not one of those creams that says they are but really they smell gross). Honestly, I sounds like a sponsored ad but there are too many good things to say about this – EWG-verified, Certified B, vegan, even autism-approved? This is just pure, unadulterated love. This is a new staple in my bathroom, as well as hers. Babo, if you see this, please make a vat of this for sale. Or at least a gigantor-sized pump. This is totally this week’s winner.

(All products were chosen by me independently and all opinions are totally my own… I started this blog about three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored- I just love sharing great finds)

– Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

Love this post? Share the link and follow me on Facebook or Instagram @themomreno! Have any suggestions for future toxin free swaps? Email me at themomreno@gmail.com or feel free to leave a comment below

Trashing the Toxins! – Week 4

May 21, 2019
Versed Look Alive Hydrating Plumping Mask and
Versed Find Clarity Purifying Mask

Who’s ready to trash toxic choices with me?

What’s the criteria for this series? Products need to be:

  • A better (healthier, cleaner, etc) version of a product I would ordinarily purchase. Ideally organic, but we’re going for improvements that will actually be embraced by the fam (I live in a household that still eats toaster pastries, so… baby steps).
  • A readily available item that can be easily found (either online or via multiple retail locations).
  • Sold at a “reasonable” price point. While some items might be considered upscale or boutique, I’m not trading in a $5 mascara for a $70 mascara… we are about to do an expensive home reno…
  • A realistic, unintimidating option. Nothing that will add exponential time and bother to any mom’s already nutso schedule.

With an eye towards simple, sustainable swaps in our daily routine that will lead our family towards better health, this weekly post is an attempted “toe-dip” into smarter choices. Nothing radical – just some carefully considered substitutions that can be instituted gradually.

Check your SPF products for safety!

Snag Some Safer Sunscreen – Memorial Day is On The Way! Warm weather has officially arrived and we’ll all be slathering on the sunscreen at the pool before we know it. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) guide to safer sun protection– there’s a simple search bar to type in your SPF product of choice and it will let you know it’s safety rank. Here’s a quick link to the best beach and sport sunscreens (by brand) and their best scoring sunscreens for kids. If you’re heading out shopping and you first download the EWG app onto your phone, you can simply scan the barcode on the back of a product to view its ranking in a snap.

In addition, when you visit the EWG website, there’s a pop up offering a free 10 sample pack of EWG-favorably rated sunscreens with all $60 (tax-deductible) donations – help them continue researching this stuff for us! (And what a great way to figure out which formula you actually like without spending a fortune… I’m waiting at the mailbox for mine). Plus, the FDA is not looking out for us like they should be and organizations like this rely on our support.

Handbag-Friendly, Shimmery Solid Perfume – While shopping with my daughter this past weekend, we both fell for Pacifica’s new Island Vanilla Shimmer Solid Perfume ($10). I love that I can throw the mini tube in my purse without worrying about it leaking and we both loved the subtle shimmer and the gentle, bit-floral-but-mostly-sweet vanilla scent. It’s vegan, cruelty-free and the company takes care to use recyclable materials in its packaging. Other scents on offer include Tahitian Gardenia, Hawaiian Ruby Guava, Himalayan Patchouli Berry and Moonray Bloom. You can buy it on their website or at select Target, Whole Foods and Ulta locations – here’s a store locator.

Yay for affordable, clean skincare!

Very Affordable & Veritably Healthier Skincare – This week, the new, non-toxic skincare line Versed (by Who What Wear) launched a 19-product collection at Target online and nationwide. Products boast being free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, formaldehyde, triclosan, triclocarban, petroleum, mineral oil, NPE, BHA, BHT, talc, hydroquinone, micro-beads, chemical sunscreen and artificial fragrances and colors. That’s a long list for a product at a reasonable price point (everything is under $20)! The company says that they put their money into research and results instead of marketing, so as to maximize value. I always like to test skincare for a few weeks before recommending it, but I’m loving the lightweight nature of the Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream and the Find Clarity Purifying Mask left my skin feeling clean and smooth. The line is not at all Target locations yet (it’s first rolling out), so call your local store before you rush there – or just order it online. Additional retail locations will carry the line later this year.

*While we are on the topic of fancy little gals… My Plea to Cosmetic Manufacturers: PLEASE make some non-toxic kid-friendly options at a reasonable price point. It doesn’t matter how many times we tell our daughters they’re too young for makeup, they ask for it anyway (little girls are just teenagers in training). There are a few boutique lines available (if you google search for “healthier makeup kids”) but I would roll over and beg for an Elsa-themed lip balm or subtle cheek flush that wasn’t filled with crap I can’t pronounce and carried at my local supermarket. These are the ones my daughter sees when she’s shopping with me. You will make bank – this is a win-win. Throw us mamas a bone.

A Sweet Sip that Saves the Bees – While thirsty at the market the other day, I grabbed a bottle of Honey Drop Lavender Lemonade off the shelf (sometimes you just don’t feel like drinking bo-ring water). The packaging was cute, it promised to please my sweet tooth, and the flavor selection was humorous (but I have a penchant for lavender). Turmeric? Cayenne? Apple Ginger? Charcoal? What? (There are apparently also Passion Fruit and Unicorn flavors available. Please someone share with me if you try the others.) For only 4 grams of sugar, I would be pretty darn happy sipping this on my porch on a hot summer day. It was pleasingly more lavender-y than I expected, and the only ingredients other than the fresh brewed lavender tea are lemons (of course!), raw honey and stevia leaf. A portion of the proceeds from every bottle goes to Seven Hills Global Outreach, “a nonprofit helping cooperative and developing countries fight colony collapse disorder and further economic development.” I found it for $3 at my local ShopRite – you can purchase it from their online shop if it’s not sold in your ‘hood.

Some worthwhile bonus links:

Carly @b.cleanliving_ featured a post on Instagram today about “10 Dirty Secrets About Grocery Store Produce” – Did you know that the average apple could be over a year old? Eye-opening stuff. Give her a read!

Lisa @ThisOrganicGirl posted a great read on her website this past week entitled, “10 Ways to Be a Greener You (Without Doing Much!) – packed with useful info (and the whole “not doing much” angle is pretty appealing for already busy moms, LOL) – it’s really little, non-bothersome ways to make a noticeable difference – follow the link!

(All products were chosen by me independently and all opinions are totally my own… I started this blog about three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored- I just love sharing great finds)

– Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

Love this post? Share the link and follow me on Facebook or Instagram @themomreno! Have any suggestions for future toxin free swaps? Email me at themomreno@gmail.com or feel free to leave a comment below

Trashing the Toxins! – Week 3

Week Three – May 16, 2019

Who’s ready to trash some toxins with me?

With an eye towards simple, sustainable swaps in our daily routine that will lead our family towards better health, this weekly post is an attempted “toe-dip” into smarter choices. Nothing radical – just some carefully considered substitutions that can be instituted gradually.

What’s the criteria for this series? Products need to be:

  • A better (healthier, cleaner, etc) version of a product I would ordinarily purchase. Ideally organic, but we’re going for improvements that will actually be embraced by the fam (I live in a household that still eats toaster pastries, so… baby steps).
  • A readily available item that can be easily found (either online or via multiple retail locations).
  • Sold at a “reasonable” price point. While some items might be considered upscale or boutique, I’m not trading in a $5 mascara for a $70 mascara… we are about to do an expensive home reno…
  • A realistic, unintimidating option. Nothing that will add exponential time and bother to any mom’s already nutso schedule.
Everyone 3-in-1 Lotion

Everyone 3-in-1 Lotion (in Coconut + Lemon) – If you regularly slather on body lotion upon stepping out of the shower, it makes sense to choose a non-toxic option – your skin is super absorbent and you’re covering a lot of it! Everyone Lotion costs about $10 for a huge 32 fluid ounce pump, so it doesn’t break the bank (at that price, you can share it with the whole family :-). It’s rare to find a product that’s economical, non-GMO verified, cruelty-free and also free of gluten, parabens, polysorbate and disodium EDTA. It does still have phenoxyethanol and dimethicone, but seriously, it’s a WHOLE lot cleaner than what our family was opting for before. It’s got a nice, lightweight finish, five star reviews on many sites, and there are a slew of other scents to choose from, including Lavender Aloe and Citrus Mint (there’s an unscented version too). You can find it in most supermarkets and mass market retailers, and for around $10 online at Thrive Market and EOproducts.com (where you can get 20% off if you sign up for their newsletter and free shipping over $50). I’m excited to try more from the EO brand- there’s so many products on their site that I was unaware of!

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm – As I’m always on a search for new clean lip color favorites, I decided to see what the local drugstore had to offer. The answer was… not much. But they did thankfully carry Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, which boasts being paraben, phthalate, petrolatum and sodium lauryl sulfate free. After a quick check on the Think Dirty App (a free, user-friendly app that will scan a barcode and score product ingredient concerns), I snatched up the Rose shade (even though I usually run from any lip color called Rose). It was just right – a super sheet hint of color without any weird sparkly bits that make me feel ridiculous for about $5. It kind of looks like I’m wearing nothing and my lips are just a moisturized, pretty, “bitten” color (instead of my natural, invisible nude). I’m trading in my longtime cult favorite (and any fears of petrolatum contamination from refining) for this shea butter and botanical wax blend. It’s available in six shades at many locations – if you don’t find it in your local pharmacy or Target, you can click on their website link for a nearby store locator.

Seventh Generation Free & Clean Unscented Liquid Hand Soap – I picked up this USDA Certified biobased hand soap because I generally trust the Seventh Generation brand, and because (in truth) it was the cheapest clean option on the supermarket shelf last time I shopped. This gentle cleanser is free of dyes, triclosan, phthalates and fragrance, and leaves your hands feeling fresh and not stripped of moisture for the bargain price of around $2.99 (that’s nominally more than the chemical-laden choices – a no-brainer)! It does contain sodium coco-sulfate, but that’s at least a little more natural than the more common sodium laureth-sulfate (SLS). In addition to the unscented pump, it’s also available in Mandarin Orange + Grapefruit, Lavender Flower + Mint, and Lemon + Tea Tree scents. (Those of you who know me well might be wondering how a self-diagnosed germophobe switches to a non-antibacterial soap – the answer is that I’m having the kids use an antibacterial with claims upon arriving home from school and then we switch to this option for the rest of the evening. I’d hose them down in a decontamination tent if they’d let me- LOL).

A vetted-by-my-son organic spread!

Crofter’s Organic Premium Spread in Strawberry – I’m feeling pretty smug and sneaky with this one, because my VERY picky 10-year old has not realized that I’m making his sandwiches with this spread instead of his usual jelly, and he notices everything. This brand popped up at my supermarket for $3.79 and I gave it a whirl since it’s made with organic strawberries (seemed like a smart decision) and has 33% less sugar than a preserve. It’s gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO project verified, and I like that the taste is still sweet but a bit truer to the actual fruit. I’ve also tried the Wild Blueberry flavor myself, stirred into some Fage Yogurt – YUM. Note: Since it’s organic, you have to use it within 20 days (a sign it might actually be something you should eat, not a drawback). They also offer an even healthier Just Fruit Spread Organic option for $4.50, which skips the organic cane sugar. Next round, let’s see if I can get away with THAT! (I invite you to laugh at my formica background – this is why we’re doing the home reno, people 🙂

Beware of BPA-laden glossy receipts

Did You Know This? I Didn’t! – Thanks to the blogger from Starts With Mom, it was brought to my attention via her Instagram account story on Tuesday that you should handle your cash register receipts as little as possible – Say What? Apparently it’s not new information, but it was new to me (that’s why we mamas gotta share)! Turns out that a lot of receipt paper still contains BPA or BPS (not any better) and if you use hand sanitizer before handling them, your fingers absorb even more of it. Reduce your exposure by going paperless when possible, touch the non-glossy back part (not the front) of receipts, and keep a separate envelope in your purse for them so they don’t rub around your wallet. Think it’s old news? The California legislature has even introduced a “skip the slip” bill that’s scheduled for a committee hearing literally as I write this.

(All products were chosen by me independently and all opinions are totally my own… I started this blog about three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored- I just love sharing great finds)

– Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

Love this post? Share the link and follow me on Facebook or Instagram @themomreno! Have any suggestions for future toxin free swaps? Email me at themomreno@gmail.com! Feel free to leave a comment below