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

Favorite Finds!

Wall art outside the Johnny Was store on Wooster Street in NYC

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

First off, a huge Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

Second guessing your sparkles – how socially conscious are your cosmetics?

Fave Media Link: If you are looking for a site with some quick, compelling reads and you are not familiar with Refinery 29, they have been getting things right lately. There’s fashion, entertainment and beauty roundups to spare, but they’ve also been publishing some deeper digs. like the eye-opening exposé article, The Makeup Industry’s Darkest Secret is Hiding in Your Makeup Bag (revealing child labor mica mining in India). Lots more social responsibility in their coverage lately, and I’m thinking that’s a great thing.

Fave Fashion Find: – I came across Lisi Lerch’s chic and affordable accessory line after following Alexa Anglin on Instagram – not only are her earrings on trend and reasonably priced, but I love her backstory – she left the Wall Street world to pursue her creative passion and fill a void in the millinery market (affordable, fashionable hats), and then became a mom specializing in unique jewelry. (A second, less affordable find this week is Longchamp’s Mademoiselle Studded Leather Camera Bag ($495 at Nordstrom) – it’s not happening for me but someone buy it so I feel better – or so I can borrow it – LOL).

Fave Insta-Influencer: Vani Hari, aka @thefoodbabe, is a NYT best-selling author who is dedicated to descrambling food labels and teaching the masses how not to be duped. She pulls back the mask on the many products masquerading as natural, healthy options- I would go so far as to call her a modern muckraker and a brave consumer advocate. I’m greatly admiring her courage in standing up to big corporations and challenging their attempts to muddle the public’s knowledge, and I learn from her Instagram posts every time. Her book, Feeding You Lies, can be found on Amazon in hardcover or for the Kindle. It’s in my cart.


Fave Useful Item: Warmer weather is upon us, so the shout out goes to France Luxe’s L. Erickson Grab & Go Pony hair elastics ($18 for a tube of 15). These are not new and many of you may know of them already, but if you don’t, they are life-changing. I’ve given up using all my other elastics for both my daughter (who has fine, flyaway hair) and myself (fuller, naturally curly hair) – these are by far the most comfortable, effective and stylish of the bunch. They come in a variety of colors and are a bit pricier than what I would ordinarily pick up at the drugstore , but also half as likely to get lost. You can find them at specialty boutique stores, a full array of colors on their site, or a smaller selection of 8-elastic tubes on Amazon ($10).

Do you need a measles booster shot?

Fave Hot Topic Answers: The conversation outside my daugher’s gymnastics class this past week amongst parents revolved around the resurgence of the measles, and what’s required to be protected against it. Here’s a link to the CDC website with the FAQ. In short, the answers are: Kids should be following their vaccination schedule and receive two doses, properly spaced. No, you don’t need a booster as an adult if you are confident you received both doses as a kid. Yes, you can take it again if you are unsure that you got both doses way back when – it’s not worrisome to get an accidental third dose.

Fave Laugh: The Accidental SuperMom on Instagram is hysterical and has three young kiddos to gather material from. Her blog is filled with equally funny writing, and also identifiable perspective (like Past, Present and Future Mom). If you have young kids and are feeling the motherhood mayhem, she is the best comic relief. Here, she lists “What We Really Want for Mother’s Day.” Sing it, sister.

(All opinions are totally my own… I started this blog three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored) – If you love what you read, share it! Moms are all each other’s best resource. Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

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