Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Winner of our EcoSMART Organic Lawn & Garden Value Pack Giveaway!

Thank you again to the great team at EcoSMART for partnering with us on this giveaway for an awesome Plant and Garden Value Pack of people- and pet-safe pest killers, made from organic essential oils.  Here are the results of our Random.org drawing:


Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
10
Timestamp: 2010-02-28 21:01:20 UTC


Congratulations to Baby Sweetness!  Your home and garden will be extra green, this spring :) (And I hope EcoSMART is the solution to your ant problem.)  Please check your e-mail, so we can make arrangements to get your prize pack out to you.

Thank you again to our entrants.  I hope everyone will keep their eyes open for this wonderful, safe alternative to conventional repellents and pest control, which is available in several major chain stores.  

Enjoy your Sunday, and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics closing ceremonies tonight :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Product Review: The Goodbyn Lunch Box

Goodbyn Lunchbox, BlueOur family is always looking for ways to be eco-friendly (we wouldn't be the Green Organic family, if we didn't) ;)  We successfully navigated babyhood, and reduced our landfill waste by choosing cloth diapers and training pants.  Mission accomplished!  But what's the next biggest source of trash, after diapers?  My guess would be school lunches.

Green Organic Girl attends all-day preschool, and at age three, she was already bringing a packed lunch and snacks, five days a week.  We love her preschool, and especially the healthy eating rules, like the avoidance of the four "C's": no cookies, no chocolate, no cake, no candy. We plan to continue that trend, when Green Organic Girl starts big-girl school in the fall.

Avoiding sugary treats in lunch boxes is actually quite easy.  In our weekly share of organic produce from our buying club, there are always some of my daughter's favorites: ripe, local Florida strawberries, juicy cherry tomatoes, crispy bell peppers, baby-cut carrots, crunchy cucumber, etc.).  These are all healthy, tasty, and easy-to-eat finger foods, that readily pack well into lunch boxes.  Accompanying her fruit and veggies are always a tube of Stonyfield Farm YoKids organic yogurt, and some cheese, for protein and calcium.  Add a small handful of organic crackers, and that's a delicious variety of snacks that my daughter really loves.  

After deciding what to bring, the next problem in packing lunches is the transporting.  Lunch bags all have a finite amount of space, and while we buy in bulk whenever we can, and try to avoid extra packaging (like, from individually wrapped single portions), we ultimately need something to store these snacks in.  We've tried to minimize our use of little plastic sandwich baggies, which ultimately get thrown away; creating landfill waste.  But reusable containers can quickly take up all the available space in a lunch box, and there's the issue of lids getting misplaced.  We've also tried reusable sandwich wraps, but they're not quite suited to small items, like teeny little duck-shaped cheese crackers, and they're not transparent.  We all know we eat with our eyes, as much as with our mouths.  If Green Organic Girl can't see what's inside, she may not open it.  We needed a better option for portable food storage.

In addition, we have a climate-related problem, living here in the very humid Florida Keys.  We've now gone through two fabric-lined lunch boxes, to try to avoid exposure to the lead that may leach from PVC-lined lunch bags.  Unfortunately, no amount of airing out, washing, and exposure to the sun prevented this big issue: mold.  We unfortunately, had to throw away two lunch bags already, due to mold growing on the fabric.  Avoiding PVC is one thing, but tossing out functioning lunch bags due to mold is not an eco-friendly solution.

Lucky for us, an amazing and totally adorable lunch solution awaited us: the Goodbyn.  We instantly fell in love with this innovative lunch box; USA-made with solid, molded, non-leaching plastic (and solid plastic for us means no mold growth).  This hard-case lunch box takes after the bento box design of Japanese lunch boxes.  Growing up in an Asian household, I had a few beloved bento boxes, and the compartments were just the coolest thing :)


The Goodbyn is so functional, yet simple to use.  The whole box is comprised of only two pieces; the base tray, and the lid.  All the little compartments are built in, and there are no little pieces to lose.  Everything seals in shut; safely tucked away in its own compartment, and separated from the rest of the food in the box.  Fruits stay moist and juicy, crackers stay dry, and your sandwich won't get squished, or come apart.  Just open the lid, and voila!  Your healthy lunchtime smorgasbord awaits.  My daughter loves sampling a little bit of everything on her plate when she sits down to eat (lucky for me), and her Goodbyn lets her do exactly that at lunchtime.  She can see everything in front of her, and easily move from one item to the next, without having to open extra packages and containers.

We are very pleased with our Goodbyn.  I love that it has a simple, yet functional and sturdy design.  It's also USA-made from food-grade plastic, that is free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates.  As the base is one single molded piece, there are no impossible-to-clean nooks and crannies, and the whole thing, even when decorated with the assortment of 275 stickers, can safely go in the dishwasher.  (However, if your dishwasher is anything like mine, a greasy film still remains on all plastic items, so we just hand-wash them instead.  The whole thing washes up very easily, and air-dries in the dish rack.)  The stickers are just too cool, and with 275 options, including everything from eyes and ears to tails, a multitude of upper- and lower-case letters, and other odds and ends, your child can truly make this lunch box their own custom creation.  Ours is a pink box, boasting green, square-shaped eyeglass frames, a big red clown nose, a mermaid tail, and assortment of food.  A true work of art ;)  I also love that at the end of its useful life, the Goodbyn can go straight into the recycle bin.  There's even a sticker of a recycle symbol ;)  I think it's wonderful that there was also so little outer packaging, when the product arrived.  Just a partial  cardboard sleeve, coming from an FSC-certified Washington-based printer; printed with vegetable-based inks, on recycled material.  I really like the extra thought put into the design of the closure of the cardboard sleeve; allowing the whole thing to seal itself, with no tape or glue!  Now that is smart, eco-friendly thinking :)
In researching for this purchase, I did come across some reviews from other parents, describing some minor issues with the Goodbyn.  The first was the opening and closing of the unit, and ensuring a tight fit with the lid. Thankfully, Goodbyn enclosed a little pamphlet with diagrams on how to best close the box.  The trick to opening the box is to start from the "ears".  Once the "head" is free, I use my fingers under the lid to gently pop the lid loose.  Very simple!  Closing it requires a few strategic presses, but what reusable plastic container doesn't?  The trick here is to start from the middle, and if your child is doing this, have them stand up, with the Goodbyn laying on a flat surface at waist level, for a little more leverage.  Two presses directly under the eyes, then under the nose, and then at the bottom.  Then press all around the outer perimeter, to make sure the outer edges have sealed.  It's actually quite quick and easy.  Even my four-and-a-half year old can do this :)

The second issue I came across in reviews, is with the accompanying drink bottle.  Many parents expressed frustration with the tab on the lid, that just will not stay closed.  Ours wouldn't close at all.  I sent a comment into Goodbyn via their website, inquiring about this lid issue, and within hours, I received a very kind reply.  Goodbyn is well aware of issues with opening/closing the unit, and the bottle top as well.  To address these issues, Goodbyn has worked with their manufacturer, and there will be a new line coming out in March 2010.  The Goodbyn rep was kind enough to offer to send me a replacement bottle from this new line, in a matching color for our lunch box.  It was refreshing, experiencing great customer service, backing a great product. 

My final concern with the Goodbyn had to do with food safety, and keeping cold food cold.  This is actually when the compartments come in very handy.  Green Organic Girl already has several small gel cold packs by Boo Boo Buddy, which are PVC-free, and filled with non-toxic gel.  They also come in the cutest shapes, like pets and other animals.  They stay soft and flexible, even when frozen.  They're meant for soothing bumps and bruises, but these are also just the right size to fit in the sandwich compartment, and top compartment, to keep sandwiches, yogurt containers, cheese, and beverages cold.  I stocked up on a few extra Boo Boo Buddies for this purpose.  However, in future versions of the Goodbyn, I would really like to see perhaps some type of double-walled construction, kind of like those found in some sippy cups.  That would help maintain the temperature within the compartment, as long as it stays closed.  Perhaps some type of form-fitted gel-filled removable insert for those larger compartments would work as well.  I'm sure the innovative team behind Goodbyn will come up with some great solutions.


All in all, we are extremely pleased with our Goodbyn.  For us, it was a smart and fun eco-friendly choice.  We're also glad to be supporting a domestic company, that truly stands by its product, and our planet.  The makers of Goodbyn proudly participate in 1% for the Planet, a program for businesses, committed to keeping the Earth healthy.  We look forward to enjoying lots of yummy, healthy lunches with our Goodbyn, and we're glad to see another option soon to be available for older kids, called the "Too Cool For Ears" option.  Hmm... I think I may have to pick up one of those for myself ;)



No promotional consideration was paid for this post.  This is a review of a personal purchase.
Images courtesy of Goodbyn.com.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Product Review: Tumaro's Gourmet Organic Flour Tortillas


Our family is always big on enjoying fresh flavors in our food. Thanks to the great people over at Tumaro's Gourmet Tortillas, we have a new way to enjoy all the wonderful organic produce that we pick up from our buying club each week. 

We were treated with samples of the newest line of tortillas from Tumaro's; a Santa Monica, California-based company, that began a mission back in 1994 to create the healthiest options for tortillas, made from whole grains, and infused with natural flavors. This new line is all organic, and that is clearly evident in the first bite.  These organic wraps didn't have that dry, floury texture of some supermarket brands, and what surprised me, was that they didn't have that unpleasant tangy aftertaste, which must come from the preservatives in conventional wraps.  The Tumaro's organic tortillas tasted pure and wholesome.  They each had plenty of flavor on their own; not dry and bland like most other brands.

There were so many flavors to choose from, we didn't know where to start!  We got to try samples of each of these wonderful organic wraps:
  • Organic Jalapeño & Cilantro
  • Organic Honey Wheat
  • Organic Garden Herb
  • Organic Multi Grain
  • Organic Premium White
Each came in handy resealable packages, and recipes on the back.  We enjoyed these both hot, and cold.  They made for a wonderful breakfast; encasing organic scrambled eggs, à la Julia Child, with a little smear of safflower mayonnaise, some crispy bacon, and slices of fresh organic tomato, and perfectly ripened organic Hass avocado.  My favorite wrap for this purpose was the Organic Jalapeño & Cilantro.  The flavors just came together incredibly well.  At first, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this flavor, as I do like spicy foods, but not the bitter aftertaste that typically comes with jalapeños.  When I did finally try this variety, I was in for a pleasant surprise.  There was just enough hint of the jalapeño to add a little extra dimension to the flavors, without overpowering everything with heat.  Just the perfect balance, if you ask me, and probably my favorite of the whole line :)

My daughter enjoyed several ham-and-cheese, and turkey wraps, made from these organic tortillas.  She gobbled up each one, with a smile.  Tumaro's gets the kid-approved stamp ;)  I think these will make for very handy alternatives to bread, when we're packing lunches. We won't have to worry about soggy bread by the time lunch hour rolls around.

Tumaro's Gourmet Organic Tortillas are USDA organic, and proudly certified by the American Heart Association.  These make a great healthy alternative to bread, as they are low in fat, high in fiber, and contain no artificial flavors, cholesterol, trans fats, preservatives, or lactose.  They also contain no casein milk protein (great for me) :)

Tumaro's are available in several of the large chain stores, and I'm hoping to see this organic line available on Amazon.com soon, to join the other wonderful wraps, also made by Tumaro's.

Do pick up a pack of these at your local store, and enjoy the delicious, organic difference :)






No promotional consideration was paid for this post.  This is a review of free samples from the manufacturer.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Movie Review: Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution

It's grocery shopping day here.  Green Organic Girl and I will be heading out shortly, for our weekly run.  Isn't it amazing what modern day conveniences we have, that we can just walk into a store and enjoy a bounty of food?  Bins and aisles just full of almost anything you want to eat, and at almost any time of year.  But what if I told you that the farmers who grew some of that produce won't even eat it themselves?  Why?  Because they were the ones who doused the growing plants with repeated treatments of toxic pesticides.  That is the underlying theme of the documentary, Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution.

This is a very enjoyable and eye-opening film.  It starts out, following the school children of a small town in France, who partake in lunches served by the local municipal-run kitchen.  At the initiative of the town's mayor and council, the kitchen began sourcing their ingredients from locally grown organics.  The film follows the impact of this change, on the students, their families, their friends in surrounding communities, and the farmers themselves.  Everybody was seeing the positive impact of this change.

Unfortunately, the change had come too late for some.  There are some heart-wrenching moments in the film, tying the impact of the chemicals used in conventional farming to the rise in cancer.  The film cites studies, showing that 90% of certain cancers can be attributed to environmental factors.  The positive note to take away from all this, is that we have the power, as consumers and residents, to demand change (like what we've done, in joining a local organic produce buying club).  This is a must-see film, and it is available from Netflix and Amazon.com.

In tying into this theme, please don't forget to get your entries into our giveaway for a great value pack of all-natural, organic pest control from EcoSMART, running through 2/28/10.  We can all feel safer, knowing that there are safer alternatives to keep our lawn and gardens healthy and pest-free this spring, with products like EcoSMART. 

Have a great Sunday, everyone :)





No promotional consideration was paid for this post.  This is a review of a personal purchase/rental.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Friday, February 19, 2010

Product Review & Giveaway: Natural Bug Killer from EcoSMART

Spring is around the corner!  At least, we hope so.  I'm sitting here, wearing a scarf and wool boots as I type this.  Did I mention I live in the Florida Keys, where concrete buildings with no insulation are standard, as is the lack of home heating?   We are definitely looking forward to some warm, sunny weather, and enjoying the outdoors again.

As we do reside in South Florida, bugs run rampant!  My dog knows it's time for her evening walk, when she sees/smells me spritzing myself with bug spray.  The cooler temperatures have been keeping the mosquitoes at bay, but the no-see-ums (gnats) are always ravenous.  For some reason, which I discovered may have genetic ties, I seem to be a favorite flavor amongst the biting insect community.  Insect repellent is a must.

As with all of the products our green, organic family uses, we try to steer clear of harmful chemicals; especially when it comes to insect repellents and household products, and we're always on the lookout for safer alternatives.  We were fortunate enough to receive a sample of all natural bug spray from EcoSMART.  This company specializes in all natural sprays, using special blends of organic essential oils.  These plant oils are harmless to people, animals, the ground water, and the air. We could really smell the blend of essential oils in our sample of organic insect repellent.  It smells very concentrated, and concentrated means a little will go a long way.  Definitely a green plus!  To help with applying just that right amount, the repellent comes in a very convenient, portable spray bottle.  It has a very nice, non-greasy feel.  No greasiness means this will be sunscreen-friendly come summertime, when we definitely need to wear both. 

EcoSMART carries safe alternatives to many conventional household chemical products, like weed killers, garden fungicide, and several varieties of the best home pest control, to deal with bugs both inside the house, and in your lawn and garden.  I'm very impressed that organic essential oils can do so much, and they're definitely the safe choice, versus conventional insecticides and herbicides.

But here is a chance for one lucky reader to win a special EcoSMART value pack!  One reader of this blog will be awarded with the EcoSMART Safe Plant and Garden Value Pack to enjoy in and around your garden this spring :)  

 



Thank you to everyone who entered! This giveaway has come to a close. Please click here to see the results of our Random.org drawing and to congratulate our winner!



Please be sure to read the complete rules:

To enter this contest, first visit EcoSMART.com and check out their wonderful array of  products. Then, come back here and please leave a comment below, letting our readers know what EcoSMART product you'd like to try. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so I may contact you if you're the lucky winner.

Want extra chances to win?

For additional entries, please first leave a comment about a product you'd like to try from EcoSMART, and then do any of the following, for a maximum of 7 (seven) total entries in this giveaway contest [please be sure to come back and leave a follow-up comment for each of these completed tasks, in order to be counted as an additional entry]:
By entering this contest, you have read and understand the rules and fine print of this contest:
  1. Contest ends Sunday, February 28th, 2009 at 4:00PM EST
  2. Contest open to U.S. residents (excluding AK, HI).
  3. Giveaway prize pack consists of one (1) bottle of Weed and Grass killer, one (1) bottle of Garden Fungicide, one (1) bottle of Garden Insect Killer, and one (1) bottle of Insect Repellent; to be awarded to one (1) randomly selected winner.
  4. One (1) winner shall be chosen from the pool of valid comment entries, using Random.org
  5. Winner will be contacted via e-mail, and will provide a U.S. mailing address and telephone number, which will then be forwarded to EcoSMART, for the purpose of directly mailing one giveaway prize pack to the winner.
  6. If Winner does not respond via e-mail within 48 hours of the prize drawing, another winner will be selected via Random.org, and new winner will be awarded the prize package.
  7. Approximate retail value of the prize pack: $33.00 USD.
  8. Giveaway sponsor reserves the right to modify the prize package and quantities. 
  9. Winner will be announced here on this blog, and on Twitter, and on FaceBook.
  10. No promotional consideration was paid for this post.
Good luck to everyone!! :)





No promotional consideration was paid for this review.
One full-size sample of insect repellent was provided by EcoSMART, for the purpose of this review and giveaway.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Product Review: Ben & Jerry's Organic Lip Balms


What's one of my favorite things to do while traveling?  Why, shopping, of course!

Just before Christmas, I flew out to California to attend a family wedding.  While en route, one of my stops was in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Terminal D.  And having flown through that terminal before, I knew of a mandatory pit stop: the Ben & Jerry's ice cream counter.  

Now, my regular readers already know that I appear to have developed a milk allergy, so why was I headed to an ice cream counter?  Why, for the coveted, totally adorable Ben & Jerry's lip balms.

The last time Green Organic Girl and I flew to visit my parents, we visited this very same counter, and were enamored with a teeny little version of a tub of Mint Chocolate Chip.  We're lip balm fanatics to begin with, and always on the hunt for great all-natural ones, free of petroleum, and other nasty stuff.  Ben & Jerry's lip balm certainly fit the bill.  We immediately loved the smooth, easy-to-apply, and long-lasting texture of the Ben & Jerry's lip balm.  As an added bonus, there are no unrecognizable ingredients in the list.  In fact, quite a few of the ingredients are also organic, including soybean oil, virgin olive oil, jojoba oil, hemp seed oil, calendula, comfrey, and St. John's Wort.  All this, and it really smelled like mint chocolate.  The container is also just as cute as can be, and also very functional.  The base actually turns, and twists the lip balm up, so you don't have to go digging all the way down to the bottom, as you use it up.

This most recent trip, I was the crazy woman who cleaned out the whole supply at the Terminal D counter.  Yes, I admit it.  It was me.  LOL!  But there were only half a dozen left, and they were all Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  Just as equally delicious smelling as the Mint Chocolate Chip.

So, if you're fortunate enough to live near a Ben & Jerry's (unlike me... *sniff*), do yourself a favor and pick up one of these for yourself :)  And do it quick, because I might be visiting your town, and in line behind you, to scoop up the rest ;)






Image courtesy of flickr.com
No promotional consideration was paid for this post.  This is a review of personal purchases.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Winner of our Dewberry Originals Giveaway from The Body Shop!

Thank you again to The Body Shop for providing another awesome line of products to review and give away!  I'm thoroughly enjoying these favorite classics from the 80's Originals line, and their revamped ingredients, including organic aloe vera, and sporting eco-friendly 100% recycled packaging!

A big thanks also to all of our entrants, for the chance to win a Dewberry lotion and body wash duo :)  Here are the results from our Random.org drawing:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
10
Timestamp: 2010-02-07 21:04:27 UTC


Our lucky winner is scoop!  Congratulations!  Please check your e-mail, so we can arrange to get your Dewberry lotion and body wash out to you, for you to enjoy :D

Thanks again to everyone!  Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

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