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Monday, August 28, 2017

Honest Company: Product Review


If you are a mom, than you've probably heard of Jessica Alba's Honest Company.

Just introduced in Canada a few years ago, the company sells products that are touted as all natural and non-toxic. They have lines of personal care products, household cleaners and baby care items.

The company claims to use sustainable production methods, fair labour practices and has a commitment to social responsibility.

In terms of their products, they offer the following explanation of their efforts to ensure safety:

Our definition of safety
Our Honest approach takes full consideration of potential chronic (long-term) impacts, exposure routes, unique windows of vulnerability and a wide spectrum of potential health impacts including carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, allergenicity, neurotoxicity and more. It’s a lot more to consider and weigh, but we think our children are worth it.

We create meaningful lists.
Some companies play on consumers’ fears by saying they don’t use certain chemicals in their products — even if that type of product never contains it. (For example, some food brands label their chicken “hormone-free” and pop a premium price tag on it when the reality is that ALL chicken is hormone-free because the USDA banned the practice in the 1950s!) You can trust that the Honestly FREE Guarantee you find on each product is a meaningful list specific to that product. Each one is a unique and important list of ingredients that can be found in similar products.

Our list is always growing.
While each product has a unique guarantee, as a company, we keep a master list of ingredients we’ll never consider for use in anything. Period. We confirm, to the best of our knowledge, based on information from our raw material and packaging suppliers and manufacturing partners that our products are Honestly Made Without: phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DMP, DEP); PVC; formaldehyde carriers; alkylphenols; benzene; TEA (Triethanolamine); MEA (Monoethanolamine); parabens; phosphates; chlorine processing; chlorinated or brominated solvents; ceteareth 20; resorcinol; bronopol; quaternium 15; triclosan; sulfur oxides; organohalides; hexavalent chromium; DMDM hydantoin; organophosphate pesticides; 1,4 - dioxane; SLS/SLES (sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates); optical brighteners; mineral oil; petrolatum; BPA (bisphenol-A); a-chlorotoluene

This is just the short list of hundreds of chemicals that we’ve opted NOT to use in our products. And our list is always growing.
The only exception to this claim (to be perfectly transparent and honest) is that we cannot account for or always eliminate background contamination or cross-contamination. For example, most soils naturally contain trace amounts of arsenic which can then end up in plants grown in the soil. This is standard for all products, no matter who the manufacturer is, but we do our best to proactively find the purest, most unadulterated ingredients.

We’re ├╝ber-vigilant to the latest science.
We stand behind the safety of our products, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to do better. Every. Single. Day.
You can rest assured that we’re doing our very best to understand every nuance of the complex world of toxicology. We’re hyper-attentive to staying abreast of the latest science, actively consulting with our own internal scientific team, conducting chemical safety profiling, referring to green chemistry reports, adapting to new international standards and examining credible lists of unacceptable ingredients (like the International Chemical Secretariat’s Substitute It Now list). And should any new regulations, studies or real risks become apparent and concerning to us or our community, we quickly assess the data, modify our approach and immediately update our formulation (that’s how we roll)!

I know some people will still find these products too commercialized and not natural 'enough', but I am not one of those people. I don't worry obsessively about toxins. If you want to bath with nothing but organic rose petals, or some gloopy thing you whipped up in your kitchen, go ahead.

Though I've wanted to try these products for a while, I hadn't had a chance yet, so I was thrilled when the company sent me some of them to sample. A generous box arrived with shampoo/body wash, conditioner and bubble bath in three varieties: Sweet Orange Vanilla, Dreamy Lavender, and Apricot Kiss. They also sell unscented for those with sensitive noses.

Little A and I usually shower together so we sampled them together. We both liked them a lot. Little A thought the scents were a little light but I like that they aren't over powering. We both felt the shampoo lathers just enough, and that the conditioner is creamy enough to do its job. Having dry hair, I am particularly choosy about conditioners and this one does the job. Its not as moisturizing as some of the heavy duty ones I've used, but its good enough for humid summer days, so that's saying something.

I have very sensitive skin but neither I nor Little A had any adverse reactions to the products.

Do I recommend these products? Yes, they work well and they give me enough confidence that I am using safe products on myself and my children. They are premium, mind you, so along with that comes a premium price. The line is readily available in drug stores here across Toronto.  If the products are not available where you live, you can order them online.

Disclosure: I was sent the products to review but all opinions on this blog are our own.

Monday, August 21, 2017

New Quest Bar Flavours

Good morning! I hope you're Monday is going well so far. Mine has not been stellar. Little A woke up as a total grumpy-pants, and the weather forecast calls for temps feeling like 37 Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit). Blech!

I attended the Canadian Fitness Professionals World Fitness Expo this past weekend, but don't have much to share about it, frankly. A few of the sessions I did by TRX were extremely disappointing. I actually found great deals on clothes at the tradeshow so bought a bunch of stuff for Big A and I (she is now bigger than me and giving me hand me downs!). The most interesting thing I did was watch Jillian Michaels do a half hour Q&A. I mentioned hearing her talk for a few minutes last year and being surprised by how gracious she seemed. Well, even moreso this time. She really is humble and down-to-earth, which is so different from the persona she has in a lot of her videos. Also, loved that she reassured us she didn't vote for Trump!

One thing there was a ton of at the tradeshow was protein bars! None new to me though. In any case, I thought I'd post a review of 2 Quest bar flavours that are new to me.

You know I am loyal to my Double Chocolate Chunk Quest bars. But every once in a while I will try a different flavour just to experiment.

Since I adore mocha, I had to try the Mocha Chocolate Chip. The first one I was ambivalent about. They definitely aren't as sweet as the Double Chocolate Chunk ones, and the chunks or chips in them are more crumbly (they are supposed to have cookie crumbles and chips, but it all seems like crumbles to me). As I tried them again and again (I bought a box of 12), I liked them more and more. As much as my favorites? Nope.



Initially being completely disinterested in the Blueberry Muffin flavour, I suddenly was eager to try them. Sometimes I get chocolated out, you know what I mean?

I bought 2 boxes of these babies because there was a good sale.

I love the blueberries, and the white chocolate chunks. The so-called muffin chunks, or whatever they are supposed to be are a bit weird. But overall, I like these too, and they are perfect when I want a non-chocolate flavour protein bar snack.

At the conference, everyone got a free Quest bar in their registration package. I got an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie one, which I have given to the girls. But, at the tradeshow, it was one of the few companies that didn't offer free samples. Interestingly, neither did GNC, unlike in past years. WTF? Its all about the free samples man!

Have a good week!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fresh Back: Product Review


If you workout regularly or play sports, than you know how funky athletic wear can get. After a while, they start to stink, even right after they've come out of the wash.

Its a total bummer because it limits your workout wear lifespan, and that stuff isn't cheap!

I will sometimes soak my clothes in vinegar and baking soda, or saturate in Febreze for fabric, before throwing them in the wash. But those are temporary solutions...and admittedly, you end up smelling like a pickle from the vinegar.

Since Adam and I workout at home, we probably don't have to worry as much as folks who are around other people at gyms or are part of a team, but eventually we can gross each other out if things get too bad. So I was thrilled to take up the offer to try Fresh Back, which promises to get the stink out of your clothes and keep it that way for a few months, or even up to a year.

It involves a 2 step process, with 3 different products that work together. First you wash your clothes with the detergent. Next, you leave your clothes in the machine and wash again (with cold water) using the freshener and bonder. Than you dry as per usual. It can be used in any kind of washing machine, and even with hand washing.

Of course, one of my first questions was, what's in this stuff? Having sensitive skin, I always worry I will get an allergic reaction. The answer is as follows:

Premium Detergent: Sodium Chloride, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Metasilicate, Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate, Sodium Percarbonate, Dodecylbenzenesulfonic Acid, Sodium Salt, Alcohol Ethoxylate, Amorphous Silica. 

Freshener: Water, Color Stabilizer 

Bonder: Citric Acid, Anhydrous 

While some of these ingredients may sounds scary, I looked them all up, and none are anything to worry about. Just don't eat the stuff or rub it into your eyeballs. If you are one of these folks who obsesses about toxins, then you probably would never use this...but then again, you probably stink and don't care anyways.

In any case, I got no adverse reactions from it and I threw my entire workout wear drawer into the washer with it.

So does it work? Well it hasn't been a few months yet, but after the initial wash, everything did come out stink free! The clothes I have worn since definitely smell fresher, though perhaps not like a lavender sachet.

Do I recommend Fresh Back? Absolutely! Thrown away clothes just ends up in the landfill, and having to replace your workout wear frequently is a huge expense. I think its a great idea!

They also sent us their outdoors version, which I will for sure be using when Little A returns from sleepaway camp. Heck, her sleeping bag, and everything will go in!

Disclosure: I was sent the product to review but all opinions on this blog are my own.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Knixteen/Knixwear Period Proof Underwear: Product Review


Its tough to menstruate.

While being capable of creating life is undoubtedly miraculous, the whole experience of menstruation more or less sucks.

Even women who don't have severe PMS or menstrual disorders probably don't enjoy the monthly cramping, bloating, headaches, digestive upset, mood swings, and other lovely things that typically occur. And no one enjoys having to worry about leaks!

I for one tend to wear black pants or skirts during my period every month, just in case there is a leak so it will be less visible. But depending where you are and what you are doing, it can be really embarrassing!

Thankfully, new technology is now being developed to make managing your period easier, and make leaks a thing of the past.

I was really excited when Knixwear, one of the companies devoted to creating period proof clothes for women, sent me some of their leak proof underwear to try. Specifically, they sent me a couple pairs made for teens, but since I am small, they fit me perfectly anyways.

They do warn that they are meant to fit snuggly, but that's how I like my underwear to fit. Having no waist or hips to speak of, if mine don't fit snuggly, they'll slide right down to my ankles.

I loved these the moment I slid them on. They are thin and sleek and feel a lot like the Lululemon underwear I have, which are my favorites.

At first I still wore a tampon with them because I was skeptical that they were really leak proof. Eventually I gave them a shot and found them to do the job. In fact, I wore them overnight without anything else one night, and they still came through!

Whether you are a teen a 20-something or a pre-menopausal 30, 40 or 50 something, I definitely recommend Knix wear. On top of peace of mind, they also allow you to save money by using fewer tampons and pads, as well as save the environment from all that waste!

The company also makes bras, and I am tempted to try them too. I am such a rare size (big cup, small band), that its hard for me to find things that fit and are comfortable. Their sizing is much more flexible.

You definitely pay a premium for these undies, but its very worth it I think. Thanks Knixwear!