Favorite Finds!

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

(Super lighthearted roundup this week! Fun Memorial Day weekend material, since this is the season where moms are juggling ALL THE THINGS (no joke – we’re like circus clowns about to freakin’ drop the balls).

VERB energy bars
a palm-sized pick-me-up

Fave New Snack to Pack (it’s caffeinated!) VERB Energy Bars are like mini bars of mommy magic. They’re gluten-free, vegan, and mostly organic 90-calorie energy bars that claim to have the same amount of caffeine as a cup of espresso (except in this case it’s from organic green tea caffeine). I could totally see grabbing one of these when I have zero minutes in the morning (no time for a daily brew!) or keeping one in an office desk for a mid-afternoon slump pick-me-up. I tried all three flavors – I really liked the Salted Peanut Butter and the Simply Cocoa and will plan to re-order those. You can try all three flavors for just the cost of shipping by going to their website, and the orders get shipped to your door. Three young entrepreneurs putting yummy goodness into the world – sign me up.

Blister-free flip flops

Favorite Fashion FindREEF Ginger flip flops – What’s a Memorial Day favorites round up without a pair of flip flops? This is less a “find” and more of a “seasonal re-discovery.” The REEF Ginger flip flops have been my go-to flop for years, and if you have not tried them, I’m here to say that you can walk NYC for hours or an entire amusement park with these suckers and NO BLISTERS. That’s saying a lot for someone who struggles to find comfortable shoes. There’s something about the weave of the soft poly on the straps and the arch supportive rubber bottoms that makes them super wearable. Plus, they look good with everything from jeans to leggings to dresses (not too clunky). They come in a variety of colors (for around $28) and can be found at multiple retailers (including surf shops), on their website, or Amazon. Bonus points if you can find the slim ginger studded version from last year, which kinda make me feel like I’m wearing a version of the Valentino slides I can’t afford.

Favorite PodcastDad and Buried, by Mike and Pete – For a light and funny listen, this podcast is a laughable, brutally honest parent perspective by two sarcastic, snarky Brooklyn-based dads. Put it on as you shuttle around in your car – it’s like you’re grabbing a drink with friends after an exhausting, stressful, expensive and unrewarding day as Mom or Dad. The episode titles reveal the tone of the content – the most recent is “The Playtime Paradox: How can playing suck so much?” and ones prior to that are titled, “Are pet moms the same as a human moms? Also, what’s wrong with everyone? and Traveling with Kids- Fun times!!!” To be clear, they love their kids. They just hate parenting. Follow them on Instagram @dadandburied and listen the the podcast when you are feeling bedraggled. You’ll feel a kinship. [No, you never feel this way? Bull-doody :-)]

Fail-proof false lashes

Fave Innovative ProductLashbinder – It’s lash-tastic, people! When celebrity make-up artist Cassandra McClure witnessed how many clients struggled with applying false lashes themselves, she decided to create a product to make the process fool-proof. Literally, FOOL PROOF (because I just tried it and I’ve never put on fake lashes before in my life, and I didn’t glue my lids together or anything- LOL). It’s a little clipper that hold the lashes evenly while you apply your adhesive and then helps you to place them evenly on your lid and hold them in place until you release. You can purchase it for $29.99 on the website (lashes and glue not included). Feeling fancy.

Great photos, interesting features

Favorite Read – Have you come upon the fabulously styled read, Atelier Doré? What a fun collection of articles compiled by some amazing artistic minds and headed by notable French photographer, illustrator and author Garance Doré! From style photos, to lifestyle (When in Napa…), to features (feng shui, anyone?), to beauty (digging this roundup of non-toxic nailpolish), I love when a new post pops up in my feed reader.

Fave Inspiration (If you are also a writer or pursue ANY type of artistic talent, you MUST watch this). It’s comforting. It’s inspiring. It’s everything. I’ve been watching it since David Shiyang Liu created it eight years ago, with the words from distinguished radio personality Ira Glass (who I’m sure said it and felt it way before that) – such timeless advice. [Now that I’m new to blogging, I felt like I needed to watch it again. Stick with me- in the words of Glass, “I’ll fight my way through it!”]

Liu’s representation of Ira Glass’ words on creativity

*Note: If you are receiving this post by email, you may need to visit the site to view this embedded video.

All opinions in this post are completely my own… I started this blog in April 2019 (so about three seconds ago) because I love to share… obvs nothing is sponsored – If you love what you read, share the link! Moms are all each other’s best resource.

Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno


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!

The amazing marble mosaic art installation by Ann Hamilton on the WTC-Cortlandt street subway platform –
I got off the train a stop early just to stare at it.

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

Favorite PodcastThe Classy Career Girl by Anna Runyan – This podcast, which complements the blog that Runyan started in 2010 to inspire greater career fulfillment, is an easy listen and always leaves me motivated and informed. This link will take you to a roundup of her best episodes, including “How to Find a Job You Won’t Hate” (#47) and “Daily Habits of Highly Successful People” (#66). Her site has won multiple accolades and reaches millions of women every week – she’s even been named in the past as one of Forbes Most Influential Career Sites. Whether you are a SAHM, a WAHM, a mom with a side hustle or a full time executive, there is value to be had. Greater career fulfillment – who doesn’t want that???

Fave Fashion Find – As a big fan of both brands, The Outdoor Voices x Madewell collaboration has me pretty excited. Their limited edition, contouring, color block collection just launched this week on both the Madewell site and the Outdoor Voices site (and in stores), and I’m sure it will sell out FAST, so hop to shop if you are interested. They’ve got flattering seams, sweat-wicking fabric, and perfect Spring color vibes. One note to designers from this slightly self-conscious consumer: I’d like a few more darker tushies on these bad boys. I strive to feel more confident in pastels, but right now I’m feeling more bad-ass with a darker backside (I snatched up the one navy/charcoal option on sight). That said, if you are looking for of-the-moment, happy Spring athletic gear, search no more. [I have requested permission to use a collection photo and will sub this image once granted- for now, click on the links to see it! I didn’t want you all to miss out.]

Fave Insta-InfluencerHitha Palepu with her On the Go – 5 Smart Reads recommendations. What can’t this woman do? She is a mom (of a preschooler and a newborn- I mean, NEWborn), a CEO of a pharmaceutical company, an active angel investor in companies, a luggage packing maven with a published book (How to Pack) and, you know, in her spare time, she likes to keep the rest of us informed of timely, important news. [You can’t see me, but I’m bowing to her right now.] I first learned of her thanks to Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman on the Bad on Paper podcast they recorded (thank you!), and I’ve been reading her links ever since. She highlights worthwhile articles that you may not have caught otherwise, rather than the usual, over-hashed stuff. Follow her daily posts on Instagram or SIGN UP for her weekly newsletter… You’re smarter already.

Fly-away hair, begone!

Fave Useful Item – Ok, we need to talk about the HairFeel finishing stick. (Don’t be a hater- this is not a “clean” product.) I bought one when I saw an ad (I bit), having ZERO expectations for it to hold up. It’s AMAZING and in my purse. It works on all the weird flyaway hairs above my part line and it works for my daughter’s plentiful face-framing flyaways, and it does it all without making us look like we should be trying out for a production of Grease. I used it to touch up my daughter in the recital dressing room yesterday, discussion ensued, and I’m pretty sure her dance instructor is ready to buy stock in the company. It claims to be “made of natural plant extract and contain(s) no harmful chemicals” on the package, but I don’t really subscribe – this is not one of my super-clean recommendations – it does have silica (but you’re not inhaling it), phenoxyethanol preservative (but it’s hair, not skin) and “essence” (what?), but frankly, the rest of the list isn’t bad and I was expecting a whole lot worse from a heavily marketed product made overseas. The site was having a 50% off sale the last time I checked, making it $12.99. If the ingredients turn you off, using a matte pomade product or lightweight gel applied with a clean spoolie brush might give you a similar effect.

Favorite Read: In October 2018, James Clear published an article on his website titled, “When the 80/20 Rule Fails: The Downside of Being Effective,” which explores the difference between efficiency (getting more things done) and effectiveness (getting the most important stuff done). I found my way back to it since his recently published NYT best-selling book, Atomic Habits (free download of Chapter 1 on his website, and a good price on Amazon right now), has been the audio book I’ve been listening to while running errands this week. The article explores the upsides and downsides of the 80/20 rule (that the “small number of things accounts for the majority of the results”) and how to best optimize your skills and opportunities moving forward. Efficiency and streamlining are some of my favorite topics to read about, probably because I desire to do a better job of them myself. As a mom with a penchant for perfectionism, I’m always trying to fit in “all the things” and at the best of my ability, and I’m sure a lot of other moms reading also operate in this vein. I don’t even have a problem saying “no” to other people when my schedule is too busy – but I DO have an issue with saying no to myself when get mired in the details of something that’s not of optimal importance. It’s a worthwhile read (or re-read).

Favorite LaughModernMomProbs on Instagram is making me giggle this week – feeling like we are all part of the same mama tribe. There’s been more than one post this week that’s made me shout an audible, “Yes! Ha, absolutely!” Her tag states she’s “celebrating parenting in the modern world, one meme at a time.” Looks like she might be based in NYC – maybe part of why I (and other Tri-state area moms might) love her.

All opinions are totally my own… I started this blog in April 2019 (so about three seconds ago) because I love to share… obvs nothing is sponsored – If you love what you read, share the link! Moms are all each other’s best resource. Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno