Monday, November 24, 2014

Build & Imagine


Build & Imagine are toys that I hope to see on every child's wish list. Created by Laurie Peterson, these building toys are geared to expand a child's STEM skills.


Build & Imagine toys aim to expand a child’s possibilities by developing foundational skills for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These are fields in which women represent only 24% of the workforce, leading to what the President has termed a “gender gap in innovation”.Toys can make a difference.
Historically, building toys have catered to boys. Girls have been missing out because these toys develop important spatial and design skills that are prerequisites to succeed in STEM.
Build & Imagine has a brand new line of magnetic construction sets featuring adventurous leading female characters and rich illustrated details that inspire both girls and boys to build and imagine. We’re putting the child in the role of designer and architect, and providing a launching pad for imaginative play.

I have not been as impressed by a toy in so long as I was when we got the chance to try out a  Build & Imagine  set.  Each set can work with the other sets to build a world of your child's dream.  There is a Marine Rescue Center (which we own), A Day at the Beach and Beach House.  These sets are creative and really make your child think.  My daughter plays with her set for hours and even includes other figurines.  As an ocean lover, the Marine Rescue Center was right up her alley.  She is able to problem-solve in a way that a lot of similar toys do not seem to offer.  Build & Imagine wants to inspire boys and girls to create their own stories and learn while having fun.  These sets are "set" to inspire a new generation of boys and girls!




Rumors Has It




If you ever a fan of those delicious, flavored lip balms we all doused our lips with in junior high, then you probably still harbor a crush for those days.  I love me some flavored balms but I don't like the chemicals.  I have told you about my undying love for Crazy Rumors lip balms.   I love them for so many reasons but mainly for how moisturizing they are without the bad ingredients but with the naturally wonderful flavors.  




The balms are made from:
certified organic jojoba oil, certified organic extra virgin olive oil, certified organic shea butter, candelilla wax, soy wax, natural & organic flavors &/or pure essential oils, vitamin e, certified organic carnauba wax & natural stevia



My new favorites are perfect for the season and I cannot get enough.  Orange Clove is citrus and spice (and everything nice).  Star Anise is fall in a lip balm.  It smells of liquorice and I think I might have to join some sort of group beacause Star Anise "I can't quit you."  

I am also over-the-moon about the HibisKiss line.  Infused with mineral color and sweet scent of hibiscus, these offer color that you control.  I use Breeze every single day and I get so many compliments.  I have used other colors from other brands, but HibisKiss  is THE most moisturizing and offers the most natural color that I can deepen for day or night.

Crazy Rumors has it all.  I cannot get enough.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One Love Organics


After reading about One Love Organics for what felt like the millionth time, I knew beauty editors and bloggers probably had a winner, but I had to check it out for myself.  These products are as safe as can be and are designed to nourish skin.  Creator, Suzanne Leroux is an absolute genius.

We created One Love Organics to offer a simpler approach to beauty: a sensitive yet effective alternative to all those ubiquitous bottles and the mysterious stuff they contain. Our plant based formulas are  designed to nourish and balance all skin types—so they’re perfect for everyone.Because beauty isn’t in the bottle. It’s in the heart.

I decided to jump right in with a few products. I got Essentials to Go.
Each custom designed cotton travel bag comes with travel sizes of Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser, Brand New Day Microderma Scrub and Masque, Skin Savior Waterless Multi Balm and an instruction card for the recommended OLO beauty routine.  Obsessed does not even begin to tell you how in love with these products I really am.   The Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser is now a family staple.  I use it on my face and body.  I have not had a hormonal breakout in weeks.  It smells very softly of apples and spring.  Whats not to love?  This cleanser was a finalist in the Natural Health Magazine Beauty Awards for very good reason.  It never leaves my skin feeling tight which is a huge bonus.

Brand New Day is a scrub and masque that I use about once a week.  It smells like a tropical drink and can be used all over your body.  It really helps keep skin soft and breakout-free.  It is one of the few exfoliators that does not leave me with chronically red skin for the rest of the day.

Skin Savior is a balm that can be used as everything from a cleanser to a hair tamer.  It is definitely multi-purpose and like all the products from this line, it smells amazing.  I have not yet been brave enough to use this balm as a cleanser, but I use it everyday as a hand moisturizer as well as for dry patches on my skin.  It heals everything immediately.

This is a great way to try this amazing line and decide which products work best for you.

I also picked up the Neroli Body Serum.  This is truly summer in a bottle.  It contains pumpkin seed oil and sea buckthorn oil .  It leaves skin glowing and softly scented.  Dreary winter days are banished with this baby.  It feels so light, but it packs a moisture punch that my alligator skin needs year round.

One Love Organics has won me over in a big way.  Stay tuned for my review of the coveted Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder.  Praises will be sung.


Game Night with Niya



The new game Niya, by Blue Orange games has proven to be so much fun that my daughter is doing homework in exchange for family game time.

 In Japan’s Imperial Garden, courtly manners and nature’s beauty veil a dark political conspiracy among two influential clans. On each turn, players replace a garden tile with one of their clan tokens. The next player can only exchange a token for a garden tile that has an element in common with the previously chosen tile. The first to position their clan in a row, square, or blockade will win control of the garden…and power at court! A simple yet sophisticated abstract strategy game, Niya captivates players young and old.

This game is made for players 7+, and I can tell you that it is easy to catch on and even funner to play.  It teaches children about strategy, abstract thinking, visual perception, and focus.  It is like an advanced version of tic-tac-toe with a wonderful twist.  Each game is only about 10 minutes long which makes it great to play again and again.  I love that it travels so easily in the tin (great for doctor's office fun while waiting).   Niya is sure to be a hit this holiday season.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Waxelene

If you have not read about the harmful effects of Petroleum Jelly, then do yourself a favor and research.  You will never want to use it again.  As someone from a family where my Nana recommend baking soda and petroleum jelly as a fix for everything, breaking the chain was hard for me.  That is until I discovered Waxelene.

Waxelene® is the petroleum jelly alternative.NO petroleum. Only natural & organic ingredients.Moisturize, protect, and soothe skin all in one!Waxelene® is revolutionizing skin care. It creates the same waterproof barrier that doctors recommend petroleum jelly for but contains no petroleum or hydrogenated oil. Instead we use our patented aeration process that won’t clog pores and makes Waxelene® highly effective for any kind of dry skin. Not only that, it can be used for hundreds of other things just like petroleum jelly.

I love Waxelene so much that I even wrote about it years ago when it first came out.  Since carrying around a pot that I have to dip my dirty fingers in during the day is not an option for a germaphobe like me, I am in love with the new Waxelene Lip Tube.

 Lip Balm Squeeze Tube (.25oz), convenient for purse, pocket or travel! Use for lips, dry skin, make-up, sports, babies and so much more. Made of Organic Soy Oil, Beeswax, Organic Rosemary Oil, and Natural Vitamin E (from soybeans). That's it, no petroleum or artificial ingredients. Made in the USA. 

Yay!  Now my  Waxelene can (and does) come everywhere with me.  There are a ridiculous amount of uses for this wonderful product.  Now I just have to convert my Nana, and when she feels the difference, I don't think it will be that hard.

Mulan

If you are looking for a way to share a great story about a strong girl with your children, then look no further than this edition of Mulan by Li Jian.  We all know the Disney-fied version, but this book which is written in both English and Chinese is a wonderful retelling of the story of a young girl who risked it all.

Beautiful illustrations accompany the story of a young girl who chose to fight for her country and exchanged dresses for armor.  This version teaches children about honor and duty and there is no prince or wedding in the end.  Mulan  is inspired by her family and her love for them.

This holiday season, encourage your child's love of reading with this classic story full of the virtues all children should possess.  Mulan  is sure to become a classic on your shelves.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Vibrant Table

I love when you find an amazing cookbook that encompasses all of the ideas for the amazing raw, vegan and vegetarian recipes.  The Vibrant Table by Anya Kassoff is just such a book.


The Vibrant Table is a feast for the senses. From small sides to savory meals and sweet indulgences, each nourishing recipe tells a story of a balanced and well-fed lifestyle, centered around the family table. Amaranth Pumpkin Porridge, Fingerling Potato Pizza, Squash Blossom Quiche, Roasted Plum Ice Cream, Swirled Acai Cheesecake—you will never run out of inspiration for enjoying whole foods at any meal.Anya Kassoff’s bustling kitchen is always vegetarian, mostly vegan, gluten-free, and sometimes raw—a place where desserts can serve as an energizing breakfast too! The 100+ recipes here include fresh interpretations of familiar classics and plenty of ideas for the curious cook. With guidance on sprouting, grinding your own flours, making nut milks, and even preparing raw chocolate, building a well-stocked pantry has never been easier. A chapter dedicated to cooking with kids is full of tips and recipes for raising adventurous eaters. Anya’s devotion to preparing fresh and seasonal ingredients with love is clear. The Vibrant Table is a delicious homage to lightness and elegance at home. 

I have made so many things from this book and I cannot rave enough. The pictures are stunning and the recipes are very easy to follow.  I made the Squash Fritters (a perfect meal in itself) are perfect for fall.   We are also in love with the Pumpkin and Amaranth porridge.  I made extra to freeze and was able to use some homegrown pumpkin to put it.  Breakfast has never been better.  I also am partial to the Oat Milk and Strawberry Smoothie, which is breakfast in a cup.

The recipes in The Vibrant Table are healthy, delicious and appealing to everyone.   The recipes read like a conversation with your friend.   I think a copy of this would make a perfect gift as well as for a host or hostess.

Rare Elements Treatment and Shine


It was not long ago that I was regaling you with my expression of love for Rare Elements hair care.  I am still devoted to this fabulous line and each product I try gets me in deeper.  Winter and cold weather wreaks havoc on my scalp so the El' Treatment Hair and Scalp Serum was on my radar.

Discover the "Best- kept Secret" to reversing the signs of damaged hair. We've captured the raw, unspoiled wealth of nature and developed a rejuvenating serum that has the ability to target the specific needs of aging tresses.Every opulent drop provides instant hydration and the “proper nourishment” needed for rebuilding and promoting stronger, healthier hair growth.The El’ Treatment is comprised of 13 healing elements that effectively transform dull, moisture-deprived locks into hair that is stronger in its ability to mend, repair and restore itself, simply by receiving what it needs.

This smells like heaven in a bottle.  I use this directly on my scalp once a week to banish the dryness and itching and soothe my scalp.  I leave it on while I do housework or read a book (in that rare moment of quiet).  It makes my hair feel so healthy and soft and because it is the right consistency, it never leaves me greasy.  This would be a desert-island must-have for me.  It brings back the bounce and natural wave to my hair.

For added shine, I use the Marula Cocktail Leave-In Hydrating Shine Hair Mist. 
The Marula Cocktail is comprised of a rare blend of penetrating oils that add a luxurious natural shine to the hair and deep conditioning throughout the day. This lightweight treatment features the most sought after nutrient-rich oils that include the “African Miracle Oil”, Marula and the shine-enhancing moisture-boosting benefits of Baobab. Rare El’ements Marula Cocktail was inspired by the “healing elements” of nature and offers a natural finishing touch to those looking for a daily dose of nourishment and a little extra style. 

This is the first and only hair shine product that does not leave my hair weighed-down.  It enhances my curl and has people asking if I recently went to the salon and "where did you get your color done?"  I have not colored my hair in a very long time.  I attribute it all to this magic.  I love the herbal scent it leaves on my hair.  I use this to add polish to the braids and fishtails I do for my daughter and myself.  On the rare occasion I straighten, I must have this.

I am now convinced that Rare Elements can really do no wrong.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Priti Polish Autumn in Chile


Conventional, chemical-ridden nail polish is so passe.  Eco beauties (and mommies) are finding safer alternatives and the winner in our home is Priti NYC.

Priti NYC polishes are all completely non-toxic and made without toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DHB) and formaldehyde- all known carcinogenic ingredients. The luxury polishes are fast drying, chip resistant, contain a UV inhibitor, and are extremely durable and glossy. They are also completely safe for use on children and moms-to-be. Available in over 100 different shades including metallics, mattes, bright neons, rich darks, classic nudes, and everything in between, limited color selection due to ecological restraints has officially become a thing of the past.

The newest collection is entitled "Autumn in Chile".  I am totally over the moon for the colors and with a Priti manicure lasting me over a week (I am the clumsiest person imaginable and I work with small kids), I am sold.



The colors are amazing and perfect for an autumn or winter palette.  Nodding Lilac (top right) is a silvery creamy color with hints of metallic pink.  Polish Spirit (top left) is a deep plum purple.  Dublin Bay is a persimmon red, and Hadspen Blue is a wintry gray-blue.  For someone like me, I don't really do sheer nails.  I like pops of color and I could not be more pleased with this  "Autumn in Chile" launch .  I trust these polishes enough to paint the piggies of my daughter as well.  She is partial to the Hadspen Blue  and I am loving  Polish Spirit.  I know I can do some amazing manicures that I feel safe having and better yet, that last!    Take a vacation to the the beautiful Chile with this fabulous addition to the Priti NYC line.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Honey Tea Thyme


Winter is upon us (dun, dun, dun).  With winter and the inevitable must of staying indoors with germs, you will get sick.  For years the solution in my home has always been honey.  We go through ridiculous amounts of honey.  Like embarrassing amounts.  I think I have every tea known to man.  I was over-the-moon when I first heard about Honey Tea Thyme.

The time has now come for conventional medicine to lift the blinds off this "traditional remedy" and give it its due recognition.  ALIMUDDIN ZUMLA, M.D. AND A. LULAT M.D., WRITING ABOUT HONEY found in The JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE 

Honey Tea Thyme is made from pure raw honey and organic herbs or essential oils.  We make every effort to maintain the pure integrity of this natural wonder direct from the bees.  The honey is infused with all natural essential oils, or organic herbs. The unique flavors of Honey Tea Thyme are wonderful for instant herbal teas.  All you need is a teaspoon of Honey Tea Thyme in a cup of hot water and the flavor is already there!  It is also delicious on your favorite hot cereal or spread on toast.  Try one of our 19 flavors the next time you make your favorite recipe, they will add that something special your looking for.  Honey Tea Thyme is simply delicious no matter which way you choose to use it.   Along with its natural ability to sooth the throat, we recommend honey for overall health and nutrition.  Honey contains an enzyme that produces low continuous levels of hydrogen peroxide.  This contributes to the main reason for honey's legendary ability to kill viruses, fungi, and bacteria.   

I don't know how I did not have these before.  I use  Honey Tea Thyme every morning.  There is a vast selection of both Natural Flavors and Organic Flavors.  My favorites include Cinnamon, Autumn Spice and Mint Medley (for aching tummies).  They are soothing and like magic the coughs and sniffles subside.  Autumn Spice and homemade apple butter sandwiches have been a school lunch hit.  Ginger was a staple during the past few days when a case of vertigo left me nauseous all day.

Honey really is one of the most traditional and effective remedies and Honey Tea Thyme is a wonderful way to enjoy those benefits.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ilia and the Sweet Kiss


I have always been a fan of glosses and balm, but lipsticks and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love the color but cannot bear how drying they seem.  I wrote about Ilia before.    Ilia is a company I have great respect for.  They make "clean" and wonderful cosmetics that I feel safe using.

Our skin is our largest organ, and can absorb just about anything we put to its surface. ILIA is formulated with this in mind, and dedicated to creating the purest products possible. The ethical-sustainable approach embodied in each piece is filled with certified organic bio-active botanicals that nourish and rejuvenate the skin.The quality of the product is mirrored in its packaging. All cream lip products are housed in a sleek recycled aluminum case. Each product is filled with up to 85% bioactive organic ingredients. A combination of on trend pigments and super nourishing elements has set ILIA apart from the conventions of organic beauty.ILIA launched its first collection of 6 Tinted Lip Conditioners in Vancouver, Canada in 2011. The philosophy behind the now LA based brand grew from the curiosity of understanding the ingredients on the back of a lipstick box a few years prior by its founder, Sasha Plavsic.\Contrary to many organic cosmetic brands on the market at that time, Sasha referred to her roots in branding and focused on the visual aesthetic of the line. Once the contemporary packaging was in place, it was important that the quality of the product performance stood out as something new and unique in the beauty industry. From here, she sought out several chemists and an organic supplier to create an ethical product and maintain full visibility from start to finish.



I was on the search for a new lip item to take me into fall.  I don't do a dramatic lip because it just does not feel like me.  I also, as mentioned, crave moisture.  I was delighted to find the Tinted Lip Conditioners from Ilia.   My personal favorite is the color, Nobody's Baby.  Nobody's Baby is described as the "perfect nude for any occasion." I could not describe it any more accurately than that.  I use this color every single day.  It uses organic ingredients and 100 natural dye to make a color you will find yourself reaching for again and again.  I love the subtle vanilla scent and this gives me the love-child of a lipstick and a balm. Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioners  soothe and condition lips and the colors come out sheer and you can choose the intensity with how much you apply.  I can wear this during day time or night and I am a sucker for the glamorous click when I close the tube.   We have a winner!  And best yet, no nasty chemicals I have to worry about ingesting.  Ilia can you ever do wrong?  I predict a Product Mommy wish list of more colors of this fabulous line of Tinted Lip Conditioners  .

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Day in Morrocco


I am addicted to Kahina Fez body Serum, so when I found out they had created a Fez Hand and Body Balm with the same delicious scent, I was all over it.
Instantly restore and soften severely dry, chapped skin with this nourishing salve for hands and body.• High concentrations of argan oil help improve elasticity and skin texture while soothing redness• Infused with calendula, known for its powerful healing, soothing, and calming properties• Velvety base includes carrot seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and mango nut butter to deeply moisturize• Kahina’s signature Fez scent blend evokes the mysterious and exotic city in Morocco.• Aromatherapy benefits: relieves stress and calms nervesOur richest moisturizer yet, with plant butters, oils, and beeswax to seal in moisture and protect skin from further irritation and dryness.

I need only the smallest amount to give my skin a huge moisture boost and take me to lands unknown with the intoxicating scent.  My husband traveled to Morocco years ago, and he is amazed at how spot on this is.  The ingredients are so pure and beneficial for skin.  I have the softest hands and it takes all of my self-control to not slather big gobs of this on.  This is the pot of magic you should not be without.  I am off to Morocco (in my imagination).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Green is Good


I always cringe when I hear parents state that their children will "only eat chicken nuggets or mac and cheese."  That is simply not true.  The earlier you start expanding their palettes, the more the child will eat.  I know some will argue, but I have seen the proof in the pudding time and time again.  Eating "green" has been a staple of our diets since I had my daughter.  Sure she enjoys the occasional nugget or pasta and cheese, but she also gobbles Lima beans and kale.  Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton has 90+ recipes for vegetable lovers.

This new bible for all things vegetable from Fine Cooking's Vegetable Queen is ideal for the millions of eaters who want to get the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and greens into their daily diet. Susie Middleton shares her love of healthful, delicious veggies with a guide to shopping for and cooking delectable meatless meals, including such delights as Spinach with Shallots and Parmigiano and Roasted Eggplant, Bell Pepper, and Fresh Basil Salad. More than 100 recipes for appetizers, snacks, entrees, and side dishes, many of them vegan, makeFast, Fresh & Green an excellent resource for vegetarians and omnivores.

Eating green is not only good for you, but so easy to do with this book.  We have thoroughly enjoyed the Acorn Squash rings and Sauteed Carrots.  I new favorite is the Warm Fava Beans (I used edamame instead because we had a surplus).  They had my daughter asking for me and me fighting her because I wanted to bring some to work!  Kids are amazingly adaptable.  You don't have hide veggies in their food, let the flavors speak for themselves.  For tonight's menu, Brown Butter Linquine Sqaush.  Yum!

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