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

Trashing the Toxins – Week 1


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. (All products were chosen by me independently and all opinions are my own.)

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.

Swapping My Daily Brew

San Francisco Bay Organic Rainforest Blend K-cups – These K-cups are not only organic but are also made with a compostable lidding and ring, and make me feel like I am not filling a landfill with non-biodegradable plastic. The best part is that they taste richer than the big box retailer blend I was drinking and end up costing only about 10 cents more (about .41 cents) per cup. Win, win, win. I started buying it off Amazon because I wanted to try it without buying the biggest box, but now that I know I like it and learned that the company offers free shipping over $50 on their website ($30 for recurring orders), I’ll order it direct next time – I want to support this brand.

Trading in Toxic Toothpaste

Burt’s Bees Clean and Fresh Toothpaste with Fluoride in Mint Medly – I was excited to find that there is a more natural option available that still contains fluoride, since the elimination of it was kind of a deal-breaker for me. It’s ADA accepted and has a gentle minty taste that’s not as strong as a mainstream brand paste. My teeth seem happy and it’s around $4.99 and available through Amazon (higher price point than their website) or retail – I got mine at the local Walmart (also on their site).

Shielding with Safer SPF Tinted Moisturizer

BeautyCounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 – As the sun starts peeking out from behind the clouds, I’m looking to leave my fuller coverage foundation behind for a tinted SPF moisturizer. This one is a best seller on the BeautyCounter site and I feel like it won some accolades a while back when I first tried it. I was tempted to try a new CC cream that I read about this year, but after seeing the ingredients I’m heading back to this lovely- maybe with extra sunscreen underneath for more brutal days. It evens out skin tone and leaves a dewy, natural finish. $45, but it’s not coating my whole face in toxins.

Glossing my Lips With Less Guilt

bareMinerals Gen Nude Patent Lip Lacquer in Dahling – I’ve been seeking a better lip gloss option that’s the perfect neutral shade for every day – just a shiny, pretty version of my natural lip color. It’s a little tacky (as many glosses are), but the color is right and it’s also kind of moisturizing. For $19, it’s no more expensive than my typical department or beauty store choices, so this will be my current go-to. It’s available on the bareMinerals website and also at their multiple retail locations.

Have any suggestions for future toxin free swaps? Share them with me below or email me at themomreno@gmail.com. Help a girl out!

Rise and Grind.

Back to baseline after Spring Break

We did not go away for Spring Break this year, so I don’t have the excuse of luggage laundry. However, as a result of the kids milling around for a week, hosting play dates and running out for family day trips, we are living in a post-apocalyptic scene that I have been diligently trying to work us out of before packing for construction. This week is also filled with appointments to pick out kitchen appliances and design layout. I should film it so I can watch myself exceeding budget in record time. Could be historic.

Working on working out

Motivating to get to the gym has never been easy for me, but I’ve re-committed to it – again. In addition to my health and having energy for my kids, I have about 20 extra pounds that I’ve been toting around for way too long. I’ve reached peace with them over the years, but I’ve never felt comfortable and confident the way I’d like to. The MAX Challenge program has provided me with a new feeling of accountability, since I attempt to attend five days a week at the same time, surrounded by supportive members of the community (each at their own fitness level). I like that it’s not intimidating and I don’t feel like I need to “dress up” or feel particularly skilled to participate. It certainly pushes me harder than I would push myself left to my own devices, even though I modify the heck out of every move and cheat on the suggested diet (shh…). Since it’s a 45-minute class and a quick 10 minutes away, I head there after dropping the kids off at the bus and can do the whole she-bang, including the commute, in just over an hour. Then on with the day…

But it’s not always that simple. I admit to having taken several “before” photos and have yet to take an “after.” Life gets in the way often… a sick child, a pressing project, a small injury, or just a lame excuse. That’s where the accountability of this blog will come in handy. I will always be honest, and that will sometimes sound less than aspirational.

“Clean”-ing up my makeup bag and shower caddy

The more that is written about the ingredients that our makeup and body products contain, the scarier things get. The good news is while “cleaner” beauty products have been around for years, there has been a recent explosion of new, alluring brands and options ranging from bare budget to luxury. Even the more mainstream drugstore brands seem to be slowly sensing that they need to revise certain formulas if they plan to keep competing in the ever-growing beauty marketplace.

In fact, California Assembly Bill 495, if passed, will prohibit 20 of the most dangerous chemicals and contaminants currently being used in beauty products. Read an easily digstible summary about it on the Environmental Working Group website. This page will let you download a copy of the report and read more specifics. They list the following chemicals amongst those to be banned:

  • Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
  • Chemicals that release formaldehyde.
  • Mercury, which can damage the kidney and nervous system.
  • Lead, a potent neurotoxin.
  • Asbestos, a known carcinogen.
  • Isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben.
  • Toluene, which is toxic to the brain and nervous system.
  • Triclosan, which affects the thyroid.
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to cancer.

Here is a link to the chart of the full 20 ingredients with details.

While it is not realistic to toss all current favorites in one fell swoop, I am heeding the advice of Indie Lee on the recent Bad on Paper Podcast (episode 48) and subscribing to the 80/20 rule. I plan revise a majority of the products in my regular routine, seeking out more responsible substitutes as my current products empty. I’ll be sure to report in on favorites as I go!

Little Efforts, Here and There.


Some links and items that have been helping me make a greater effort towards intentional living this week: