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

Sweating Some Serious Support

Gotta reach the goal!
or fuhgeddaboudit…
repost from @RejuventatedUK

I’ve been attending The Max Challenge since it opened in my hometown, and I’ve generally flopped between the two mindsets above :-). Lately, though, I’ve been recommitted to getting there daily and putting my in my best effort, so here’s to feeling more like the first graphic and less like the second! The Max workouts are varied enough that I’m never bored, it’s not a fashion show, and the camaraderie goes a long way towards staying committed.

A whole other reason to be thankful for a great indoor option is the allergy season. I love to walk around the neighborhood but I can’t lately unless I want to swallow buckets of goo all day (too much? Sorry). Side note: If you are also suffering with this, Mucinex D 12-hour sold behind the pharmacy counter could save your life (def saving mine).

Here are few workout truths I’ve made peace with:

  • Getting there a few minutes late is so much better than not getting there at all and attending on a Monday sets a great tone for the week.
  • The more often I go, the more motivated I am to go again.
  • Don’t wear the grey leggings unless is is laundry day and I’m out of dark ones and totally desperate (I see you, mirror).
  • Modify exercises. Modify them whenever necessary because coming back the next day trumps straining something.
  • Keep my knees behind the tips of my toes if I want to keep them intact and not show up in a knee brace. (Did you know that for each pound of body weight lost, there is a 4-pound reduction in knee joint stress for people who suffer from extra pounds or osteoarthritis? study by researcher Stephen P. Messier, PhD, of Wake Forest University)
  • Skip the makeup because no one cares and it clogs open, sweaty pores (except for the undereye concealer, because if I skip it people ask if I’m feeling sick or if everything’s ok, LOL).
  • Generate regular site posts because I’ll show up if I am writing regularly about my experience (so THANK YOU to any readers)!

The friends you make in a workout class also often end up being a terrific resource (shout out, Robyn!) – face it, when mamas talk, the take-away tips come at you left and right. Who runs the world? Moms.

Expert fittings at The Dain Shoppe in Morristown, NJ

One of the more recent floor conversations circulated around sports bra shopping and finding a bra with decent support. The Dain Shoppe in Morristown, NJ, a longstanding local lingerie shop, was recommended, so off I went with a buddy to check it out. The Dain Shoppe has been serving the tri-state area since 1982 and store associates know their stuff. Paired with the fact that they contribute to many local community initiatives, I was excited to get fitted and give their suggestions a shot.

So many options…

If you work out often enough to invest in your comfort, the best gift you can give yourself is to visit a shop that will professionally fit you and make sports bra recommendations suited to your specific size and body proportions. Amongst the myriad of choices, the associate I worked with expertly pulled several options off the rack and brought them to the fancy fitting room for me (the nicer the fitting room, the more nervous I get about the price). I gasped a little when I checked the tag of the Anita Air Control Deltapad, but after the sweat-inducing, boob crushing, mass market torture device I have been suffering with for the past year, I promised myself I would just wash it with every load and paid for it. I want to live in this thing- everyday. It’s super comfortable in class and THEY. DON’T. MOVE. Bring on the jumping jacks. I can take it. Worth every penny.

Learning so much from @thefoodbabe

A label-reading education seems to come part and parcel with an exercise regimen, if any results are to be had. If you didn’t catch the Favorite Finds post from yesterday, I wanted to again share the link to “The Food Babe” Vani Hari’s Instagram page – @thefoodbabe. I learn something from this NYT best-selling author every time she posts and I can’t wait for her book, Feeding You Lies ($15.79 on Amazon), to show up on my doorstep.

*First time reading? Check out my first workout-related post with recommendations for sneakers that will steal all your workout excuses and how to take the stink out of workout gear. Click on the link!

(All products were chosen by me independently and all opinions are totally my own… I started this blog three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored- this is a creative outlet and I just love sharing great finds) – Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

Got any workout tips that you want to share? Comment below or email me at themomreno@gmail.com!

Friday Favorites!

It’s Friday! The blogosphere seems to decree this as roundup day, so I’m planning for a weekly collection of links that I can’t wait to share and weren’t mentioned in other posts this week.

Today, I’m sifting through the superfluous and sleuthing out some smart stuff, so you don’t have to.

Image by obpia30 from Pixabay

Fave Media Link: Timing isn’t Everything, Everything is Timing – At least it is according to Daniel H. Pink, the bestselling author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. I discovered this book after listening to his interview with Paula Pant on her Afford Anything podcast (episode #188) and I immediately downloaded it to my Audible account. The premise is how our circadian rhythms can have a tremendous effect on the outcome of our experiences and our decision-making capabilities – fellow nerds out there, it’s FASCINATING. Did you know that medical issues at hospitals increase measurably in the afternoon? He states in Pant’s recording that “anesthesia errors are four times more likely at 3 p.m. than at 9 a.m.”! I am seriously not scheduling another doctor’s appointment or pivotal business meeting until I finish listening to it. It’s available on Amazon in whatever format you enjoy most.

Fave Fashion Find: Short Mama Sneaker Boot – I’ve been getting a literal lift from these Linea Paolo Felicia Wedge Booties, ($119.95 at Nordstrom) and being only 5’2″ on a good day, I’ll take all the help I can get! They are casual enough to throw on with a pair of jeans and a tee, but give you the leg-lengthening confidence boost of a dressier shoe. I can run around doing errands in them and they don’t hurt my feet. For the record, the appearance is trendy sneaker but the fit feels more boot-like (pic is the Black Perf Nappa option). They are not too narrow and somewhat reasonably priced (to boot). See what I did there? LOL

Fave Insta-Influencer: I started following @nourishingalex on Instagram and the uber-healthy vegan bowls that she creates are inspiring this cooking-challenged gal to actually put together well-rounded lunches. That’s an accomplishment. I am creative in other spheres, but… I’m pretty awful at making a decent lunch. You gotta check out her food porn.

Foreign chocolate of my dreams?

Fave “Spotted Item”: So I was at Subaru picking up something for our car when I spotted THIS BAR on the check-in desk. Choc-O-Low? I immediately started quizzing the gal that works there about it and she said her friend brought it back from the UK for her. It says on the back that it has 80% less sugar than standard dark chocolate bars and it supports responsible cocoa farming. But it does have malitol, so maybe stomach upset? Someone send me an overseas link to this sucker. I don’t know how it tastes (have any readers tried it?), but I’m wondering if I can build this treat into my argument for why I need to get back to London as soon as possible.

Fave Article of Interest: On April 26th, the New York Times published this article in the Upshot – “Women Did Everything Right. Then Work Got Greedy: How America’s obsession with long hours has widened the gender gap” – it explores how even though women are more educated than ever, jobs are requiring professionals to be constantly on call and women are often being the ones to step back to run the family show (having married their intellectual equals). The article quotes Harvard economist Claudia Goldin, who stated, “Women don’t step back from work because they have rich husbands… They have rich husbands because they step back from work.” Talk amongst yourselves.

And just for laughs: Ok, to lighten the mood, you MUST follow @momtransparenting on Instagram. She’s been making me laugh out loud every day this week.

(All opinions are totally my own… I started this blog three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored) – Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

Get Busy, Do It…

“…Get up and move that BODY!”

– Technotronic
Planking woman with abs that don’t look like mine. Mine are better. (I jest!)

Oh, the header of this post. I’m in a silly mood – sorry, not sorry.

I don’t have to tell anyone reading that exercise helps reduce stress and naturally makes us feel proactive and productive. Endorphins are like natural pain and happy drugs. In fact, in a mood enhancement study conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont, the group that exercised reported “significantly lower mood disturbance” both immediately and up to 12 HOURS after exercising. It’s an upper. Maybe that’s why I’m pulling lame lyrics from the ’90s.

It’s also been proven time and time again that it’s at least 20 times harder to restart an exercise routine after stopping for any more than two days. This study was done by… me. (hee hee) I mean, I have done my due diligence!

Image by LouisBauer from Pixabay

My early morning routine consists of putting the kids on the bus, changing into workout gear, and performing a mental exercise akin to a hostage situation (“I’m serious, GET INTO THE CAR NOW!).

The more I go, the less exhausting the idea because I love how I feel when I’m there – and when it’s over. It’s like the Dorothy Parker quote about writing – “I hate writing, I love having written.” Right?

For the Love of Laundry

If you find that your wash is still not leaving your workout clothes smelling fresh, an awesome hack is to fill a sink with cold water and pour in a cup of distilled white vinegar. Let the clothes marinate for a few hours and then throw them in with your next load. Stinkiness gone. Truth. I’ve tried specially formulated “workout detergents” and this beats them all in both cost and efficacy.

What’s your favorite workout brand? I want to know! Drop me a line or leave it in the comments below. I’ve been liking the Zella High Waist Cropped Leggings from Nordstrom for their ability to smooth and flatten, and the affordable C9 Line from Champion at Target, which happens to be 20% off today (not sure for how long). I’m dying to check out Outdoor Voices next time I’m downtown since they have a store on Prince Street – they are a splurge but their two tone stuff is hi-tech and kind of amazing looking.

On a side note, is anyone else guilty of waiting to spend on wardrobe until they are at a size where they feel more like their old self? My options have dwindled to the point where I never feel like I have anything. I seem to be forgetting that getting dressed confidently breeds confidence. I guess I feel like investing in workout gear I love would at least drive the workout habit.

Literally, saving my sole(s)

I also have to share these sneakers for anyone suffering from foot pain, intermittent or chronic. Once upon a time, I was a beauty writer who clomped the whole of NYC in three inch heels. I murdered the balls of my feet. Paired with early signs of arthritis and aerobic stress on my heels (holy crap, I sound 80 years old), there are days when the inflammation would provide a stellar excuse to sit on my tush. Enter Orthofeet’s Coral Stretchable Athletic Sneaker – they are like walking on clouds. Sometimes I just wear them around the house because it hurts less than being barefoot. They’re pricey, but there is always a sale going on *full price is for suckers. They are bulkier-looking than my trendy sneakers, but they are a godsend on the bad days (then back to cute) and don’t make me look like I should live in a nursing home.

Sooo…. what is motivating you all to work out? What are you loving? Share your recommendations – moms are amazing resources and we all learn so much from each other every day!

(All opinions are totally my own… I started this blog three seconds ago… obvs nothing is sponsored) xoxo TheMomReno