Adventures in Living a Natural Lifestyle

Sharing my adventures in living a more natural lifestyle, information about essential oils and natural home, health, and beauty recipes!


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Looking for a Gluten, Soy and Dairy Free Whole Foods Snack? Look no further! Forth Bars Do NOT Disappoint!!!

Since starting my fitness journey I’ve been experimenting with different healthy eating strategies (I refuse to say I’m dieting because this is a lifestyle change not a diet!).  Within the last couple months I’ve been loosely following the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) program that focuses on finding a balance between the three main Macro Nutrient groups: Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins. You can read more about it here on the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) website.  They also have an awesome Macro Calculator and an IIFYM Official Facebook group for support.  A couple weeks ago I saw this promotion in the IIFYM Official Facebook group for a new gluten, soy and dairy free whole foods snack bar that I intrigued me.  So I entered the contest and was blessed to have been given the opportunity to review the new Forth bars as part of this contest!

So a little about this new company.  Forth was founded by Terri Mintz who has struggled with profound food allergies.  She lives an active lifestyle and became frustrated with not being able to find healthy, nutrient dense, whole food choices and thus decided to start making them herself.  As others took notice of her improving health, stamina and performance she decided to create a whole line of products designed for people with similar nutritional needs.  “Forth products are filled with FDA identified functional foods, superfoods, whole carbs, proteins and healthy fats. Made from minimally processed, plant based ingredients, Forth products leave you satisfied and energized.  Each Forth product contains targeted ingredients – whether functional food, traditional remedy or superfood – known to positively affect our body and mood. All Forth Bars and Bites are:

  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy Free
  • Soy Free
  • Plant Based
  • Minimally Processed
  • Very Low in Salt
  • Low Fat
  • Free of fillers, preservatives and unnecessary ingredients”

Needless to say that’s an impressive list so if I could find a wholesome, nutrient dense snack food that met the above requirements for my friends with dietary restrictions then I was excited to give them a try!  You can learn more about their products on the We Are Forth website and follow We Are Forth on Facebook and Instagram for special promotions.

I was lucky enough to get a variety pack to try so below you will find my reviews of each of the 7 varieties of Forth Bars that are currently available.

Calm Bar

Lavender + Vanilla + Honey + Berries

The first bar I tried out of my variety pack was the Calm Bar.  In the midst of kitchen renovations I figured I could use a little more calm in my life plus the essential oiler in me was super excited to see lavender as an ingredient! I absolutely love the unique flavor profile of this bar!!!  It is a little “herby,” for lack of a better description, due to the lavender buds.  While I truly appreciate the unique flavor it might be an acquired taste for some.  I was impressed that the bar was sweet enough without being overly sweet or filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners like most snack bars you can buy in the grocery store.  It does have 14g of Sugar and a total of 29g of Carbs so for those on a low-carb or keto diet this may not be for you.  But I’m trying to conquer my fear of carbs as they are necessary for sustained energy and to build strength and muscle and 29g of Carbs is about the equivalent of a slice of organic, whole wheat bread.  Plus, the Forth Bars are Gluten Free so those who need a little carb fueled energy boost but can’t eat gluten containing products will love Forth Bars!  I was also super impressed that all of the Forth Bars are low in Sodium.  Most snack bars like this are super high in sodium which is one of the main reasons I tend to avoid processed foods.  These seem like they will be a healthy, nutritional option for those who need a quick snack or energy boost throughout their day!  I’m looking forward to trying out the rest of the bars in the variety pack!!!

Macro Breakdown: 29 g Carbs (64%), 5 g Fat (25%), 5 g Protein (11%)

Ingredients Bar: Gluten Free Oats, Puffed Quinoa, Peanut Butter, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Date Paste, Aronia Berries (apple juice sweetened), Freeze Dried Cherries, Hemp Protein Powder, Freeze Dried Mango, Honey, Spray Dried Lemon Juice, Acai Resveratrol (The only ingredient I didn’t recognize so I had to look it up.  Turns out this is an all natural and powerful antioxidant to help your body fight free radicals and support your immune system!), Lavender, Vanilla Powder, Lemon Balm, Spices

Ingredients Topping: Date Paste, Cherry Powder, Vanilla, Lavender, Spray Dried Lemon Juice, Honey

You can check out the full Nutritional Information on their website: Calm Bar Nutrition and Information

Body Bar

Chocolate + Molasses + Spices

The second bar I tried was the Body Bar.  Our routine has been super messed up by the kitchen renovations and the tiny human did not sleep well  the last couple hours of the night making it nearly impossible to get up and work out.  So I chose to sleep in which meant that I wanted to get in a good run on my lunch break to get in at least some exercise that day.  With back to back clients all morning I don’t have a lot of time to snack and knew my energy would be low by noon when I would finally get a chance to go for a run.  So around 10:50 am I decided to open up the Body Bar for a quick little pick me up and to provide some energy to help get me through my run.  My first impression was that it smelled amazing!!! The combination of molasses and spices was a beautiful balance of savory and just sweet enough.  I was pleasantly surprised on my lunch run how much energy I had.  The week prior I had allowed stress to get the better of me and hadn’t run much at all so I was really working on getting my stamina back up and I ran nearly a mile further than I had a couple days earlier without feeling as tired and run down.  So the Body Bar definitely gets a winning review from me!!! Might have to order a 12 pack of this one! 😉

Macro Breakdown: 32 g Carbs (66%), 5 g Fat (23%), 5 g Protein (10%)

Ingredients Bar: Gluten Free Oats, Puffed Quinoa, Peanut Butter, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Date Paste, Dried Cranberries, Undutched Cocoa Powder, Dark Chocolate (undutched cocoa powder and evaporated cane juice), Dried Aronia Berries (apple juice sweetened), Molasses, Pumpkin Puree, Pea Protein Powder, Maca, Drum Dried Bananas, Acai Resveratrol, Spices

Ingredients Topping: Date Paste, Undutched Cocoa Powder, Maca, Pea Protein, Molasses, Coconut Electrolytes, Probiotics, Spices

You can check out the full Nutritional Information on their website: Body Bar Nutrition and Information

Belly Bar

Cranberry + Ginger + Lemon

The third bar I tried from the Forth variety pack was the Belly Bar.  My stomach was a little upset so I figured it would be a good time to try out their bar that was designed to help soothe the stomach. After all, keeping the gut and urinary tract healthy are important in maintaining overall health and wellness so we can use all the help we can get!  Let me just tell you guys, this bar is awesome!!! I love the ginger zing!  Ginger is one of my favorite flavors and this bar has just enough of the ginger spice and it balances beautifully with the citrusy flavor of the lemon and the sweetness of the dried cranberries!  A little higher on the carbs and lower on the protein than the first two bars I tried but overall a win and a really good mid-morning snack to help keep me energized until lunch.

Macro Breakdown: 33 g Carbs (68%), 5 g Fat (23%), 4 g Protein (8%)

Ingredients Bar: Gluten Free Oats, Quinoa Puffs, Date Paste, Peanut Butter, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Dried Apricots, Dried Aronia Berries (apple juice sweetened), Dried Cranberries, Honey, Spray Dried Lemon, Acai Resveratrol, Spices

Ingredients Topping: Date Paste, Drum Dried Cranberry Powder, Maca, Honey, Spray Dried Lemon Juice, Probiotics, Spices

You can check out the full Nutritional Information on their website: Belly Bar Nutrition and Information

Heart Bar

Mango + Papaya + Coconut

Saturday, March 25 was the suggested race date for my 10K & S.P.E.W. race, sponsored by Hogwarts Running Club (yes, it’s a real thing!) so I wanted a snack that morning to help give me enough energy to help me run the entire race without weighing me down (because I wanted to help free house elves not lose my lunch! lol).  Naturally, I turned to my Forth bar variety pack and decided to give the Heart Bar a try.  Figured a little support for my cardiovascular system while running a 10K would be just what the doctor ordered!  Thankfully, it didn’t let me down!  This bar was a little sweeter than the others I had tried so far and had a nice tropical flavor profile with the mango, papaya and coconut.  There were also a few larger chunks of fruit in the bar which made for a nice little surprise when I would get one in my bite!  30 minutes later I went for my run and was pleased to know I shaved 2 minutes off my run time and finished the 10K in 1 hour flat!  While I can’t promise the Heart Bar will make you run faster I can say it did help provide the energy I needed to run the entire race without stopping to walk!  This and the Body Bar would be excellent choices for any of my runner friends looking for a healthy snack option before races!

Macro Breakdown: 32 g Carbs (61%), 7 g Fat (30%), 5 g Protein (9%)

Ingredients Bar: Gluten Free Oats, Quinoa Puffs, Peanut Butter, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Jungle Peanuts, Date Paste, Dried Blueberries, Freeze Dried Mango, Raisins, Freeze Dried Strawberries, Dried Aronia Berries (apple juice sweetened), Coconut Flakes, Honey, Acai Resveratrol, Spices

Ingredients Topping: Date Paste, Honey, Drum Dried Mango, Drum Dried Banana, Coconut Electrolytes, Maca, Vitamin D Oil

You can check out the full Nutritional Information on their website: Heart Bar Nutrition and Information

O’Mama Bar

Berry + Figs + Ginger

After my race the day before, Sunday was my rest day and time to spend with my daughter.  So naturally the O’Mama Bar seemed like a good choice for my afternoon snack while she was napping!  Like the Belly Bar, the O’Mama Bar does have a bit of a ginger zing but it was more subtle and had a sweeter, richer flavor overall.   This bar is lower on the carbs so for days when you are less active or don’t need quite as much of an energy boost this would make for a great snack!

Macro Breakdown: 27 g Carbs (58%), 7 g Fat (34%), 4 g Protein (9%)

Ingredients Bar: Gluten Free Oats, Puffed Quinoa, Peanut Butter, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Date Paste, Aronia Berries (apple juice sweetened), Drum Dried Bananas, Freeze Dried Strawberries, Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Dried Figs, Honey, Acai Resveratrol

Ingredients Topping: Date Paste, Drum Dried Banana Powder, Freeze Dried Strawberries, Freeze Dried Cranberries, Honey, Probiotics, Vitamin D Oil

You can check out the full Nutritional Information on their website: O’Mama Bar Nutrition and Information

Sexy Bar

Spicy Chipotle + Chocolate + Jungle Peanuts

If you have been reading closely or follow me on Instagram then you know that I am in the middle of kitchen repairs and renovations.  I don’t know about you but I find new appliances super sexy (guess that’s a sign I’m officially an “adult,” whatever that means…) so it seemed apropos that I should choose the Sexy Bar to try out the day they were delivered!  It smelled super rich when I first pulled it out of the wrapping so I was excited to give it a try.  OMG!  It was like a flavor explosion in my mouth!  I loved the spicy chipotle and chocolate combo!!! It was so good I took extra small bites so I could enjoy it longer! Definitely had a little kick but oh so good!  Hands down, this is my FAVORITE Forth Bar!  I will be ordering more! ❤ 🙂 Plus, it has Goji berries in it and you all know how much I love my NingXia Red so any other healthy snack that includes the immune supporting Goji berry is a win in my book!

Macro Breakdown: 27 g Carbs (64%), 4.5 g Fat (24%), 5 g Protein (12%)

Ingredients Bar: Gluten Free Oats, Puffed Quinoa, Peanut butter, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Date Paste, Undutched Cocoa, Chocolate (undutched cocoa and evaporated cane juice), Jungle Peanuts, Freeze Dried Raspberries, Aronia Berries (sweetened with apple juice), Dried Cranberries, Goji, Berries, Maca, Honey, Acai Resveratrol, Chili Powder, Spices

Ingredients Topping: Date Paste, Undutched Cocoa, Freeze Dried Raspberries, Chili Powder, Spices

You can check out the full Nutritional Information on their website: Sexy Bar Nutrition and Information

Brain Bar

Espresso + Chocolate + Coconut

I was feeling a little sluggish when I returned to work after my 3 day weekend so I figured a little extra brainpower couldn’t hurt!  Thankfully, the Brain Bar was the last bar left in my variety pack for me to try.  It has a subtle espresso flavor with chunks of dark chocolate without being overly sweet.  A similar flavor profile to the Sexy Bar which I loved so much but without the chipotle kick.  So if spicy isn’t your thing or you just love coffee, then this bar is definitely for you!

Macro Breakdown: 35 g Carbs (70%), 5 g Fat (22%), 4 g Protein (8%)

Ingredients Bar: Gluten Free Oats, Quinoa Puffs, Peanut Butter, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Date Paste, Freeze Dried Strawberries, Dried Blueberries, Dried Aronia Berries (apple juice sweetened), Undutched Cocoa Powder, Dark Chocolate (cocoa powder and evaporated cane juice), Coconut Flakes, Molasses, Acai Resveratrol, Maca, Dehydrated Coffee, Spices

Ingredients Topping: Date Paste, Drum Dried Blueberry Powder, Undutched Cocoa Powder, Coconut Electrolytes, Coffee Powder, Spices

You can check out the full Nutritional Information on their website: Brain Bar Nutrition and Information

Final Review

Overall I’m really impressed by all of the Forth Bars!  They taste great and provide sustained energy for workouts, chasing toddlers or to get through a grueling work day!  I love the unique flavor combinations and that they give me just enough of a hint of sweetness without being overly sweet.  But perhaps the biggest selling point to me is that they are all natural, with no artificial ingredients, are low sodium and are all gluten, soy and dairy free making them the perfect snack for those with dietary restrictions or who are just mindful of what they put into their bodies!

Pros

  • Taste great!
  • Unique flavor combinations
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Naturally sweetened with fruit juices or honey – just sweet enough without being overly sweet or triggering my sugar addiction!
  • Gluten, Soy and Dairy Free – perfect for those with dietary restrictions.  They are not nut free, however.  Most of the bars I tried have peanut butter in them so be mindful if you or a family member have a nut allergy.
  • Low Fat – ranging from 4.5-7 g per bar
  • Low Sodium
  • Reasonable Calories – ranging from 180 – 210 calories each, the Forth Bars are an excellent choice for a quick, nutrient dense snack to provide sustainable energy for an active lifestyle without adding unnecessary calories.  Plus, if you wanted slightly fewer calories to help you stick with your goals, you can also check out their “Bite” options, available in the same great flavor combinations but coming in at less than 100 calories each!
  • Available in packs of 12 in variety packs or single flavors if you find your favorite!

Cons

  • Cost – coming in at $47.40 per 12 pack these bars will run you $3.95 per bar.  However, this is comparable to buying other snack bar singles at your grocery store but without any of the nasty artificial ingredients, high sugar or insane sodium content of what you’re used to finding in the energy bar aisles!
  • Low(ish) Protein – these are not a high protein bar like you might want for post-workout recovery (grab the protein powder instead) but they do seem to provide the sustained energy that the company boasts making them ideal for snacks on the go for afternoon hikes or a pre-workout energy boost!

So overall, I highly recommend supporting this new company so that they can continue to bring healthy, nutrient dense, whole food snack options to the market!  So head on over to the We Are Forth website and order your Bars or Bites today!  And make sure to tell your friends!

 

Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am an aromatherapy student but I am not a medical doctor. Products and techniques mentioned here are to help support your specific areas of concern and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

Looking for a Gluten, Soy and Dairy Free Whole Foods Snack? Look no further! Forth Bars Do NOT Disappoint!!! was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures

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2016 – My Year for Crushin’ Health & Fitness Goals! (Part 2: My Supplement and Protein Shake Reviews)

2016 – My Year for Crushin’ Health & Fitness Goals! (Part 2: My Supplement and Protein Shake Reviews) was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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Norwex & Young Living: a “Natural” Fit! (A Product Review)

Norwex

I finally did it, I jumped on the Norwex bandwagon.  I’ve known about Norwex for awhile, having first encountered their products at a local vendor expo that had a lot of chemical-free, natural living companies represented.  I was more than impressed but I honestly couldn’t justify the pricetag that came with their products.  I have been invited to several Norwex Facebook “parties” over the years and resisted for a long time because I used to be pretty anti-MLM.  But after joining Young Living and really jumping in headfirst into this crazy business I started to really reconsider my stance on MLM companies and began attending my friend’s various parties in order to help support their growing businesses.  It was only a matter of time before I finally attended a Norwex party.

In mid-January a friend invited me to attend her Norwex Facebook party and I figured I’d check it out.  I was impressed so I commented on a few of the posts and asked a few questions.  I was fortunate enough to be selected as a random winner for a free EnviroCloth.  This was fortuitous, because I still probably wouldn’t have spent the money on it myself.  So, early February rolls around and my new, free, baby pink (a color I never would’ve purchased myself) Envirocloth arrives in the mail.  I send my obligatory “Thank You” message to my friend who sent it to me and go on about my day.  The cloth probably sat on my dining room table untouched for several days before I finally admitted to myself that I should probably get some cleaning done and reached for it to try it out.  Y’all… Norwex is a GAME CHANGER!!!

Seriously, it was Facebook status worthy.  Here’s my post from February 7th, 2016:

“Okay y’all, as much as I’ve resisted I am officially on the Norwex bandwagon. I had attended a friend’s party a couple weeks ago and was lucky enough to win a free EnviroCloth. It arrived in the mail this past week and I had some cleaning to do today so thought “what the hell, I’ll give it a shot!” Let me just tell you, I cleaned my ENTIRE kitchen with this one cloth!

I have historically not enjoyed cleaning with microfiber because it leaves little balls of fluff everywhere and isn’t very absorbent (like the water just sort of sits on top of it you know?). Well, this Envirocloth is in a whole other league! It was absorbent enough to clean my kitchen counters, my glass stove top (and even got all the crusty bits off), and was still going so I actually cleaned the front of my oven/stove (I’m embarrassed to say when the last time it was cleaned was).

So yeah, Norwex’s Envirocloth and Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner will never not be a part of my cleaning routine!!! (There will be a very positive product review on my blog in the near future) Now to invest in the travel size envirocloths, the dusting mitt, and that kitchen scrubby cloth thing! Maybe I’ll find some extra cash lying around when I clean the sofa cushions….”

The very next week, another friend decided to host a Norwex Facebook party.  I was so impressed with how my new EnviroCloth had tackled my kitchen cleaning that jumped on her party and shared the testimonial that I had posted to my own timeline.  I decided to stick around and learned even more about Norwex’s products.

So, what makes Norwex microfiber so special, you ask? Really it seems to come down to quality.  I’ve used lots of microfiber cloths and I have to admit, I’m not a fan.  They just don’t seem to really absorb anything and I wind up with all kinds of fluffy balled up bits that come off them in the wash.  Honestly, paper towels just seemed to work better for cleaning my counters and dusting.  But my inner hippy dies a little every time I use a dozen (or two) paper towels when I get around the cleaning.  But Norwex Microfiber is made up of teeny tiny (1/200th the size of a human hair is what they say) polyester and polyamide fibers which are tightly woven together to create a really strong piece of fabric.  You can literally feel the difference when you pick up an EnviroCloth. The microfiber helps create an electrostatic charge which picks up dirt and debris rather than just moving it around.  In addition, many of their products, including the ever popular EnviroCloth, contain what they call BacLock which is a natural antibacterial silver-based agent that is activated when wet and helps prevent bacterial odor, mold or mildew growth within the cloth itself.  So you can toss that old sponge you keep microwaving… blech!

I can’t do justice to their products like their sales reps can when it comes to explaining all the amazing products that Norwex has to offer so you should totally attend a party (local or online) if you get a chance.  But in the meantime, it was this video that really impressed me:

x

 

So I was pretty much sold and created a wish list of products I was really interested in trying.  I loved my EnviroCloth and was using it to dust in addition to cleaning my kitchen counters so I knew I wanted to try Norwex’s Dusting Mitt!  Plus, I’ve got 5 dogs and a tiny human that love to put finger prints on my French doors and figured the Window Cloth would get some use.  Plus there were some other products I was interested in like their Makeup Removal Cloths, Baby Body Cloths, the All Purpose Kitchen Cloth, and maybe even one day their famous Mop System.  So my wish list quickly became bigger than my pocket book would allow.

Turns out, Norwex does these incentives to encourage people to join their sales team where you can get a sampling of their products (or even a whole starter kit some months) for FREE (just pay s&h).  My friend who hosted the party had jumped on board and decided to be a Norwex consultant already. The February 2016 Jump On Starter Kit consisted of an EnviroCloth, a Window Cloth, a Dusting Mitt, and a 2-pack of SpiriSponges.  While technically this is to encourage people to join their team, there is no sales requirement but you do have an opportunity to work the business and earn more free product if you choose.  I know I don’t have time to dedicate to learning a new business with my Young Living commitment but I couldn’t pass up a good bargain.  So I “jumped on” and paid my $9.99 s&h to get my free stuff ($42 worth of products)!  (You can get this deal too if you order before March 16, 2016 by following this link: http://www.norwex.biz/pws/idakostur/tabs/join-us-jump-on.aspx)

I’ve honestly never been as excited to clean as I was when my package arrived (which was surprisingly fast, so kudos to the packaging and shipping department at Norwex)!  Now, they recommend using just water with their microfiber products but y’all know I’m super in love my with Thieves Household Cleaner  and my DIY cleaning products (like my Natural Dust Repellent) so I opted to use both.  While it may not be necessary with the BacLock antibacterial silver I feel extra confident when I combine that with the cleaning power of Thieves and Lemon essential oils!  As before, my new EnviroCloth (that thankfully isn’t pink) didn’t let me down.  I was not only able to clean my entire countertop, my glass top coffee table (which I finished off with the Window Cloth and I honestly don’t think it’s ever been so clean) and my glass stove top but I also decided to clean the inside and outside of my microwave! I did use my natural microwave cleaning method for the inside but it was even easier to clean out with the EnviroCloth than a sponge like I have used in the past.  Plus, no nasty sponge germs! Winning!  And the outside of my microwave, which is the only stainless steel appliance in my kitchen so far, sparkles without having to use my stainless cleaning trick!

The Dusting Mitt also surpassed my expectations.  Norwex says you can use the Dusting Mitt dry or wet.  So I started with it dry and cleaned my television screen and the other electronic gadgets like the modem, router, and PlayStation 4. The amount of dust that my house produces is a little bit insane so by the time I had tackled these things my dusting Mitt was getting a bit dusty.  But I was able to shake most of it off in the trashcan and then used my DIY Natural Dust Repellent with it to help provide a protective coating on my wooden entertainment center, end tables, and the bottom of my coffee table.  Well, by then the Dusting Mitt was completely covered in dust.  I was really impressed with how well it picked up the big chunks on the bottom of my coffee table instead of just spreading them onto the freshly vacuumed floor (because I never have the sense to dust first and vacuum second…).  But I was curious how much further I could take this thing.  So I shook off the big chunks and rinsed the Dusting Mitt in my sink and set to taking on my bookcases.  Seriously, this thing just kept on picking up dirt and dust! I probably could’ve dusted my whole house, but I was way too lazy to give that a try last weekend!  That’s a challenge for another day.

And last but not least is the SpiriSponge. I honestly didn’t really care if I got this or not but it came with the Jump On special and was fortuitously timed.  My husband, who is an amazing cook, had just roasted a turkey in the oven the night before and the roasting pan still had some stuck on grime.  I had been scrubbing with our Ocello dish wand before I remembered about the SpiriSponge and thought I’d give it a try on the second half of the roasting pan.  Let me tell you, this was SO much easier.  Still required a bit of elbow grease but nothing like I was having to scrub with my dish wand.  Now I’m really intrigued by Norwex’s Spirinett and Pot Scrubbers! I may just get one to see if they help the hubby clean the cast iron (because I refuse to learn how to do it the right way so it’s the one cleaning job that remains his and his alone).

I haven’t had a chance to really use the Window Cloth a lot, besides on my glass top coffee table and my microwave and oven doors.  It did an exceptional job but the real challenge will be my front storm door and French Doors leading to the back porch.  Lots of puppy noses and tiny human hand prints to clean.  But that’s on the agenda for this coming weekend and I couldn’t wait that long to share my excitement about these amazing products with you.

In summary, the Pros and Cons of these Norwex products are:

Pros:

  • Safe for your whole family – No toxic cleaning chemicals necessary!
  • Prevents the spread of germs – Antibacterial silver agent prevents odor, mold, and mildew
  • Environmentally friendly – No paper towels mean you save a small forest over time!
  • Gets the job done and keeps on cleaning – You can use one EnviroCloth or Dusting Mitt to clean many things

Cons:

  • Cost – but if you factor in the fact that you’ll save a ton of money on paper towels when you use Norwex microfiber instead, then you come out ahead

So there you have it.  My wish list keeps on growing and I hope to be able to share reviews of more amazing Norwex product with you in the future.  I’m super excited to be planning a non-toxic home class with my friend and Norwex rep, Jane Kostur, in the next couple months where we will spotlight both Norwex and Young Living products that can help you rid your home of toxic chemicals and learn how to keep your home clean naturally.  I’ll share the dates of that class in the Events section of my website if you’re interested in attending.  Don’t want to wait that long? Contact Jane Kostur to learn how you can host a Norwex party or to find out when her next party is being held!  Many of the parties these days are online so you don’t have to be local or take too much time out of your busy schedule! Just hop on the Facebook event page and read at your leisure!

Note: I have not been compensated, either monetarily or with free product, for this review by Norwex or any independent sales consultant.  I merely like to share my love of natural products with my readers and when I can help our a friend in the process I love to pay it forward! 

 

Norwex & Young Living: a “Natural” Fit! (A Product Review) was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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“New and Improved” with toxic chemicals and no longer my perfect mascara

**Note: It’s taken me awhile to write this blog because honestly I wondered whether I even wanted to after getting down and dirty with my research and learning more about this “new and improved” product.  But after much consideration I realized that goes against what I was hoping to do with writing reviews of natural products.  I felt I owed it to myself and my followers to write an honest review and let you know how disappointed I am in this company.  With that said, please keep in mind when you read the following post that the company I’m referring to is an MLM (direct sales) and there are many people, a lot of whom are Work At Home Moms (WAHM) who depend on the sales from this company to provide for their families.  I do not believe this formula change in any way is a reflection of the women who work so hard representing this company.  If you have a friend who is a presenter, please continue to provide love and support for them.  I encourage you to reach out and contact the company if you are as disappointed in their changes as I am.  I for one will be sending them links to both my original product review and this one so they can see how their decisions impact their customers. Maybe they will listen and have a change of heart, maybe they won’t. But we never know until we try. 

 

So back in May I wrote a blog called I’ve found my perfect (naturally based, cruelty-free) mascara! It was by far my biggest blog post to date! Well, after three months any girl knows it’s time to replace your mascara.  We had a good run but I knew it was time because my gel was getting clumpy and I found that by the end of the day my mascara was kind of flaking off.  So I hit up my friend and trusted Younique presenter, to re-order.

In the 3 months from my original order and blog post to the day I got my new mascara Younique had reformulated their Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.  Now I am historically very resistant to change.  I find a product I love and I tend to stick with it.  But alas, my beloved mascara went the way of the bras I love (Am I the only one who buys my bras in every color because inevitably it will be discontinued by the time I go bra shopping again!?! Surely not. But I digress…) and I was faced with a decision, trust Younique and my dear friend that the new product is every bit as good as the last or start the search all over again.  So I practiced my cognitive restructuring and positive thinking skills (yay for listening to the advice I give client’s every single day!) and set my anxiety aside to try out the new formula.

I was super excited when I got my package in the mail and immediately tossed my old mascara before snapping some pics to show you the differences.  Thankfully, my Younique friend had some comparison pics and allowed me to use them as part of my blog.

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When you first open up your Younique package you’ll immediately see a difference between the old packaging and the new.  The old packaging was this hard case that was wrapped in plastic (top).  The new packaging has a fancy cut out box with the mascara inside (bottom).

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While I am pleased that they did away with the bulky, unnecessary hard case that the mascara used to come in (top) I feel like what they gained by minimizing the materials for the case they lost by adding the fancy cut out box (see previous pic).  So from an eco-friendly perspective they still leave something to be desired with the mascara packaging.  I’d love to see them minimize their mascara’s carbon footprint a bit in the future by doing away with the cardboard box.   It does have some, very minimal, application instructions which could be easily tucked inside the shipping package.

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I admit I do like the more modern, streamlined look of the new containers (right).  Plus, I really like that they new containers have a clear spot in them so you can see when your gel or fibers are starting to get a bit low and it’ll give you an idea of when you will need to reorder.

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They also changed the wand shape.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t love the shape of the old wand (top).  I felt like I was always making more of a mess than I ever did with my old mascara.  But truthfully, the new design didn’t seem to help my mess at all, so pretty sure that’s just operator error at this point. (I have, however, learned that I can take a q-tip with just the slightest bit of fractionated coconut oil on it and wipe off any of the mess I make easily!) I’m pretty sure the new wand is designed to be used such that the large part of the brush hits the lashes on the outermost part of your eye.  This makes sense and presumably helps curl them upwards a bit.  While great in theory, I fail somewhat in execution.  I can do my right eye easily but just can’t contort my hand enough to use it this way on my left eye.  Doesn’t seem to matter too much though.

 

Younique changed more than just appearances though.  They also “enhanced” their gel and fiber formulas. Here’s where you should always read your ingredients before you order.  Here’s the old ingredient list:

“Old” Transplanting Gel Ingredients: Water, Beeswax (Natural Propolis), Carnauba (Brazilian palm glue), Iron Oxide Cl 77499 (Black), Collagen, Acrylates Copolymer, Nylon, Stearic Acid, Propylene Glycol.  See my previous blog post I’ve found my perfect (naturally based, cruelty-free) mascara! for a breakdown of these ingredients.

Nine ingredients.  All of which I could live with.  Here’s the new list of ingredients (new ingredients in italics):

“New” Moodstruck Transplanting Gel Ingredients: Water/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Acrylate Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Polyvinylalcohol, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Tromethamine, Beeswax, Bentonite, Microcrystalline Wax, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Alcohol, Allantoin, Silica, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Ppg-2-Deceth-30, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Dehydroacetate

Seriously!?! They went from 9 ingredients to 23!?! And not only that, they added alcohol(s), Silicones, and Sulfates??? All ingredients I’ve tried desperately to throw out of my beauty and hygiene routine. Honestly, the ingredient list is now worse than my old school Cover Girl mascara ingredient list. Le sigh. Here’s a breakdown of all the new ingredients from Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database:

  • Butylene Glycol – On the ingredient list, Butylene Glycol is described as a humidifying and delivery ingredient.  According to the EWG, Butylene Glycol is a small organic alcohol used as solvent and conditioning agent.  It has limited data but the overall hazard rating is only a 1 (out of 10).  I can live with that.
  • Polyvinylalcohol – On the ingredient list, Polyvinyalcohol is described as a gel acts as a film former and binder, and helps improve endurance of the product.  According to EWG, Polyvinylalcohol is a polymer of vinyl alcohol crosslinked with glyoxal that acts as a bulking agent.  They have no real data on this ingredient but the overall hazard ratting is only a 1. Again I can live with this but another alcohol?
  • Tromethamine – On the ingredient list, Tromethamine is described as a neutralizer to control the pH balance of the Transplanting Gel.  According to EWG, Tromethamine is an aliphetic compound commonly used as a fragrance ingredient, pH adjuster, for buffering or as a masking ingredient.  It has a fair bit more data on it than the previous two ingredients and is listed as a 2 for overall hazard.  So still, not too concerning.
  • Bentonite – Here’s another ingredient I’m actually happy to see on the list because not only do I know what it is and that it is non toxic but it’s naturally based and an ingredient I can pronounce.  Bentonite is an absorbent clay often used in DIY and naturally based beauty products.  Younique states that they add Bentonite to their Transplanting Gel to help absorb oils and as a thickening agent.  Cool! Why can’t they add more stuff like this!
  • Microcrystalline Wax – On the ingredient list, Micorcrystalline Wax is described as a highly refined wax and gives products a more solid texture.  According to EWG, Microcrystalline wax is a hydrocarbon wax derived from petroleum and often used as a binder, bulking agent, emulsion stabilizer, and viscosity increasing agent.  It has limited data available but does have a low overall hazard score of 1.  But petroleum is generally something I avoid in my beauty products as it is comedogenic (meaning tends to cause acne breakouts) and there is some concern that it could be linked with skin cancer.  Not sure how I feel about a petroleum derivative…
  • Glyceryl Stearate – Glyceryl Stearate is a lipid used in cosmetics as a surfectant and emulsifying agent. The name is hard to pronounce and sounds scary but overall this ingredient is thought to have a low risk of toxicity and environmental impact.  EWG rates it a 1 for low risk due to limited data.
  • Cetearyl Alcohol – Cetearyl Alcohol is a mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols that can come from vegetable or synthetic sources.  Younique adds it to their mascara as a thickener and an emulsion stabilizer. I usually try to avoid products with alcohol in them because of the skin drying properties of alcohol.  Younique claims to be naturally derived but I would be curious where they source their cetearyl alcohol from since it can also be synthetically derived.
  • Alcohol – According to Younique, alcohol acts as an anti-foaming agent and helps to decrease sticky residue.
  • Allantoin – Allantoin is a naturally occurring nitrogenous compound used as a skin conditioning agent.  However, according to PETA’s Caring Consumer, while also found in plants (like comfrey) this ingredient is derived from uric acid which is often harvested from animals, specifically cow urine.  So if it’s a vegan product you are after, you may want to write Younique and find out exactly where their allantoin is sourced from. That said, it is not suspected of being hazardous to health or an environmental toxin and again gets a rating of 1 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
  • Silica – Silica is the most common constituent of sand.  It is added to the gel as an absorbent powder and acts as a thickening agent.  Since it’s not being used in an aerosol product the concern for Silica as an ingredient is low.
  • Dimethicone – Dimethicone is a silicon-based polymer used as a lubricant and conditioning agent.  Younique claims to add it to their transplanting gel because it slows the loss of water from the skin by forming a barrier on its surface.  But part of my crunchy granola motivations in living a more natural lifestyle was to eliminate sulfates, parabens, and silicones from my beauty and hygeine products and yet here is a company I trusted adding it as a new ingredient! What’s worse is according to EWG, the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List classifies Dimethicone as “expected to be toxic or harmful” and as a suspected environmental toxin earning it a rating of 3, or Moderate Hazard, on the Skin Deep Database.
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose – Hydroxyethylcellulose is a modified cellulose polymer; used as a gelling and thickening agent.  It’s another ingredient that sounds scary because no one can pronounce it but its assumed risk is low.
  • Phenoxyethanol – Phenoxyethanol has a moderate risk of skin allergies and immunotoxicity, earning it a rating of 4 for Moderate Risk on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.  Japan has even restricted the concentration of phenoxyethanol used in Japanese cosmetics.  Younique has chosen to add it to their formula as a preservative and to help prevent microbial growth and spoiling.  But if it wasn’t necessary in the old formula, why is it necessary now?
  • Ppg-2-Deceth-30 – Okay, so how alarming is this? Ppg-2-Deceth-30 wasn’t even listed in the Skin Deep Database, but I was able to find it under EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning where it rated a C due to Some Concern for asthma and respiratory issues, skin allergies and irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity (including the potential for genetic defects), cancer risk, and environmental concerns! Apparently it’s used as a sufactant and an emulsifying agent in some cleaning agents. Younique uses it to help stabilize liquid formulations, but why?  I wouldn’t want this in my cleaning products let alone a beauty product I use near my eye!
  • Ethylhexyglycerine – Ethylhexylglycerin is a glyceryl ether used as a weak preservative and skin conditioning agent which, while still rating a low score of 1 on the Skin Deep Database, does have the potential for irritation and toxicity of the eye according to the European Union, Classification & Labelling division.  And yet, Younique has added this ingredient to their mascara!?! A product used around the eye!  They claim that it is added as a skin conditioning agent that helps deliver and preserve the formula of their new transplanting gel but I have to wonder why they couldn’t have found an alternative means of preserving the product.  It does appear that the old formulation used Propelyne Glycol as a a humidifying and delivery agent.  An ingredient that did have a higher rating of concern in the database and that Younique chose to get rid of.  While I’m pleased with that choice it seems they replaced it with several other concerning ingredients thus nullifying the relief I might have felt otherwise.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate – I admit, I’m most alarmed with the decision to add Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) to Younique’s new transplanting gel formula.  I’ve spent years trying to rid my shampoo, body wash, soap, and other home, health, and beauty products of this ingredient and yet here it is showing up in my mascara! Why do I feel so strongly about SLES?  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are strong detergents and sufactants that are often used in shampoo and other body cleansers to help create a lather and increase the effectiveness of their cleaning power.  In fact, they are so effective at cleaning that these ingredients are commonly found in industrial cleaning agents such as engine degreaser and industrial strength detergents. It’s also widely known as a skin irritant!  EWG’s Skin Deep Database rates SLES as a 3, or Moderate Risk, due to strong evidence that it is a skin and eye irritant.  There are also contamination concerns that SLES could contain Ethylene Oxide (which rates a 10, or the highest possible hazard due to being a known carcinogen with organ toxicity and cancer risk) as well as 1-4 Dioxane (which rates an 8, or High Hazard, and another possible carcinogen). Younique’s website claims that SLES was added as an emulsifying agent.  But why in the world would they need to add such a controversial ingredient to a product that quite frankly worked better before being reformulated!?!
    • I pointed this ingredient specifically out to my friend and Younique presenter who contacted support. This is what she was told: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is not actually part of the formula for 3D Fiber Lashes+; however, it is used as a processing aid in the production of an ingredient in the formula, and, as such, European Union policies require the placement of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate on the label panel.  She was told there are several ingredients listed for this same reason.
    • She pressed the issue and was told by Bryce H from Younique Support that “Unfortunately, I would not be able to answer that as I do not have the needed information, however I can transfer you via email to a Product Related Specialist. Would that be okay?” She asked to be transferred to a product specialist and never received any new explanation of why Younique would choose to use SLES in the manufacturing of a product, despite pointing out that it didn’t seem safe or “in the best interest of our customers.” I have to say, customer service is huge to my (another reason why I love Young Living) and I’m very disappointed that Younique doesn’t care enough about their presenters to give them more information to settle the mind of a concerned customer.
  • Sodium Dehydroacetate – Sodium Dehydroacetate is an antimicrobial ingredient used as preservative.  According to EWG there is moderate concern over toxicity when used in products designed for the lips or around the mouth.  Overall it rates a 1 on the database, however, so the concern is low for this ingredient.

They also  changed the ingredients in the fibers.  One of the bigggest reason I liked the old formula was that the fibers were 100% natural derived from green tea.

“Old” Natural Fibers Ingredients: 100% Natural Fibers taken from Green Tea.

One ingredient.  Just ONE! But now they’ve replaced that one ingredient with 9.  Seriously!?! Again, I feel like we are going backwards here.  Here are the “new” fiber ingredients:

“New” Moodstruck 3D Fibers Ingredients: Rayon, Carbon Black CI77266, Squalane, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Iris Pallida Leaf Cell Extract, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Caprylic Capric Triglyceride, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate

According to Younique, the new fibers are coated in Younique’s Uplift Eye Serum which is what adds all the extra ingredients to the fiber list.  But I have to wonder, why is this necessary?  Here’s the breakdown of these ingredients according to EWG’s Skin Deep Database:

  • Rayon – Rayon is a composition of synthetic fibers and filaments composed of regenerated cellulose.  Younique puts a nice spin on it stating on their website that their Rayon is “made from plant cellulose, is environmentally friendly and made of biodegradable material that delivers longer-looking lashes and increased volume.” I’m not really worried about rayon though, it doesn’t particularly have any risk concerns.
  • Carbon Black CI77266 – Carbon Black CI77266 is a fine black powder used as a colorant in cosmetics.  It’s not even listed in EWG’s Skin Deep Database but was commonly listed as an ingredient in other products during a cursory Google search.  I did find out, however, that there is a potential for eye irritation and as of January 2014 the Nanotechnologies Industry Association (NIA) was calling for the Scientific Community on Consumer Safety to revisit their ruling that Carbon Black CI77266 was safe in it’s nano form.  You can read more about that here: http://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Regulation-Safety/Nano-industry-calls-for-another-look-at-carbon-black 

The ingredients below are the added ingredients due to coating the fibers in Younique’s Uplift Eye Serum:

  • Squalane – Squalane is a naturally occuring lipid in both plants and animals often used in lubricating creams and lotions.  It is assumed to be a low risk and rated a 1 on EWG’s database.  However, Squalane is listed in the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide as primarily derived from animals, especially shark liver oil.  According to Younique, their squalane is sourced from Sugarcane and is added to their fibers to help with cell support.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) – I used Vitamin E all the time in my DIY beauty products so I never would’ve considered giving this another thought except I was looking up all the other ingredients so thought I would look this one up too.  Apparently, Vitamin E in it’s form Tocopheryl Acetate (other forms include: alpha-tocopherol, tocopherol, tocotrienol) warrants a rating of a 3, or Moderate Hazard, on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database due to potential for allergies and immunotoxicity as well as the potential of contamination with Hydroquinone, which is rates a 9 (out of 10) or High Hazard due to being a skin irritant and is restricted in use in cosmetics.
  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C) – According to Younique Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate has “multi-functional properties provides antioxidants, nutrition, and other age-defying benefits and is already present in our bodies and skin.” It is presumed to be relatively low risk, rating a 1 for Low Hazard by the EWG.
  • Iris Pallida Leaf Cell Extract – Another ingredient not listed in EWG’s Skin Deep Database but a quick internet search indicates that Iris Pallida Leaf Cell Extract is of limited health concern. Younique claims it helps provide a more youthful appearance.
  • Ubiquinone (CoQ10) – The chemical name, Ubiquinone, sounds scary but is a skin conditioning agent with a low overall concern. In fact, CoQ10 is a popular supplement taken to promote cell growth and maintenance.
  • Caprylic Capric Triglyceride – Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is a mixed triester of glycerin and caprylic and capric acids often used as a skin conditioning agent.  It rates a 1 or Low Hazard on EWG’s database.
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate – C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate is composed of benzoic acid and long-chain (C12-15) alcohols and is primarily used as a skin conditioning agent.  It also rates a 1 for Low Hazard but has limited data available.

I had already spent my hard earned money on the product so I decided to go ahead and use it.  Plus, I didn’t do my research (shame on me) until I was well beyond the 14 day “Younique Love It Guarantee” and couldn’t get my money back and as y’all know I don’t really wear much makeup and had already decided I wasn’t ever going to buy the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara ever again (unless they reformulate it or even better go back to the old formula) so a product credit wouldn’t do me any good… So, in case you were still wondering, below is my impression of the new formula after using it for awhile.

This was after my first couple attempts.  I was pretty bummed because I really didn’t like how clumpy my eyelashes looked.  It wasn’t so bad when it wasn’t a close up photo and once I had my glasses on but I really wanted a more natural look.  So I sent a message to my friend and Younique presented and asked for some advice.  Here’s what she said:

So the new formula has a different gel and it takes a little getting use to. I like to thin mine out a little bit with rose water. I prefer a thinner, wetter mascara. And I scrape a lot of the gel off by pulling the wand out at an angle. Then I do a thin layer of gel one eye first then fibers. I pack the fibers down on the wand and apply only to my tips then move to the next eye with gel. After I do fibers on the second eye I deal with gel on the first.

I suppose it’s telling when even the presenter doesn’t love the new formula, but that’s what I love about her – she’s honest and not just trying to sell you on a product.

I had heard a lot of buzz lately about adding Lavender essential oil to your mascara in the oily community.  Apparently it is supposed to help strengthen and lengthen your lashes and keep lash mites away.  I didn’t have any rosewater as my friend suggested but thought the Lavender eo might just do the trick so I added 2 drops to my new tube of the Fiber Lash gel. When adding any liquid to your mascara, do NOT pump your wand up and down but rather swirl it around to mix the oil and the mascara up.  Pumping your wand in your container adds air and will dry your mascara up quicker (and if you’re buying any high $ mascara you want to make it last as long as possible!).

So much better after adding the Lavender eo! I’ll be honest, even if I didn’t have the concerns I do about the lengthening list of potentially toxic ingredients, I much preferred the old formula.  While I still love the length I can add to my lashes, which really makes my eyes pop, especially when I have my glasses on, I’m really disappointed in Younique’s decision to reformulate their Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.  What drew me to the company to begin with was that they prided themselves in being  naturally based and cruelty free.  But I feel like they are straying from their values by adding potentially toxic ingredients.

Do you use Younique’s 3D Fiber Lash Mascara? What do you think of the new formula? Share your review below for readers to see!

Do you have a natural, non-toxic, cruelty-free (and bonus if it’s Vegan for some of my readers) brand of mascara? I’d love to know what it is so I can try it out.  Extra bonus points if it’s a drug store brand that won’t cost me half my paycheck.

I also ordered some of Younique’s Bb cream to try out at the same time I ordered the new mascara.  I’ll do a separate blog post on that soon so keep your eye out for it! Don’t want to miss any posts? Be sure to follow my blog by clicking on the link below my picture!


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Set Yourself (or Someone You Love) Up For Breastfeeding Success: Products I Love and Gift Basket Ideas #WBW2015

Nothing is more natural than breastfeeding! And in honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015 I thought I would share some of the products that I love that have helped me along my breastfeeding adventure.  Not all of these products themselves are “natural” per se, although I do have some DIY natural options as well, but they are proved their worth time and again over the last 6 1/2 months in my home.  Check them out to help you on your natural breastfeeding adventure or even better, build a gift basket for someone you love who is expecting to set them up for breastfeeding success!!!

A Local Lactation Consultant – Few things are as natural as breastfeeding but unfortunately it doesn’t come naturally to every mom and baby.   A Lactation Consultant (LC) is a healthcare professional who has been trained as a breastfeeding specialist who helps teach mothers how to properly nurse their babies.   They can be especially valuable if you are experiencing difficulties getting a proper latch, having painful nursing sessions, or have low milk production.  They are trained to diagnose conditions such as lip or tongue tie in babies, thrush in mothers and babies, as well as clogged ducts and mastitis.  LC’s can offer invaluable advice on how to increase milk production through massage, pumping techniques such as “power pumping,” and recommending vitamins and supplements that may help. Lactation Consultants are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Inc. under the direction of US National Commission for Certifying Agencies. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) may be found in a wide variety of health care settings, including hospitals, pediatric offices, public health clinics, and private practice.  You may be lucky enough to not need an LC but knowing how to find one locally is important.

Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) here: International Lactation Consultant Association: Find a Lactation Consultant.

Find a FREE Lactation Consultant – even if you are not income eligible for WIC you can still speak to a lactation consultant or nutritionist at your local WIC office for FREE.  Find your local WIC office here.

 

 A Nice Water Bottle – Hydration is key to keeping your milk supply up and nursing will make you thirsty, especially in the early days!!!  Our hospital provided us with a big ol drinking cup with a lid and straw that I kept by my side all throughout my maternity leave.  I did really well keeping up with my water intake until I went back to work and started to slack off a bit.  So recently I invested in a pair of really nice glass water bottles, I purchased Zulu brand because I found them for $16.99 for a pair at Costco (you can find them for $14.99 a piece at Target if your Costco has sold out for the season.  I add a drop or two of Lemon essential oil to my bottle (it’s 20 oz – if it was an 8 oz glass I’d only add 1 because it can be a strong lemon flavor).  Having the slight lemon flavor keeps me picking up the bottle and ensures that I get at least 60 oz throughout my work day! Plus, it helps curb my appetite and prevents me from snacking on unhealthy snacks in between meals (Bonus!).  It is important that you have glass or stainless steel (although I prefer glass so it doesn’t have the slight metallic taste that steel water bottles have) if you intend to add any essential oils since the  oils can break down plastics over time.  Otherwise, a nice BPA/phalate free plastic water bottle (like Nalgene) would work just fine!

 

womanly art of breastfeeding Book: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding published by La Leche League International – The La Leche League International is an international nonprofit agency that advocates for breastfeeding and helps provide mothers with information about the benefits of breastfeeding worldwide.  Their book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a national best seller that helps guide new mothers through what to expect from their breastfeeding relationship with their newborns, helps problem solve some of the most common difficulties with breastfeeding that cause many mothers to give up,  and provides the latest scientific research on the benefits of breastfeeding.  It’s a valuable resource and good reference whether this is your first, or fifth, child!

More information about the book or to buy it visit the La Leche League International website: http://www.llli.org/thewomanlyartofbreastfeeding 

 

tank-top Nursing Tanks and PJ’s – You won’t want to put on clothes during the first several weeks after the baby is born… Hell, you’ll be lucky to get a shower.  But one thing I did before I had my daughter, that I highly recommend to all new moms, was to invest in brand new lounge wear.  I bought myself two nursing tanks, a pair of lounge pants, and a pair of yoga pants. I lovingly packed them away in my hospital bag and never put them on until after she was born.  It was so nice to feel like I was getting something new to treat myself yet something comfy that I actually wanted to wear.  The nursing tanks are amazing because they provide some, limited support, but are super easy to snap down and nurse your little one.  They are especially nice for when those cluster feeding sessions start and you feel like you constantly have a baby attached to your boob! After almost 7 months of nursing, still the first thing I do when I come home from work in the evenings is change into my comfy tank and lounge pants! You can get comfy nursing tanks almost anywhere but I preferred Target brand nursing tanks because they were inexpensive and came up to a size XXL (which is important for all us buxom mamas!).

 

essential-embrace_black A Good, Supportive, Nursing Bra – This is especially important if you are well endowed already because once you decide to brave leaving the house you will likely find that those comfy nursing tanks aren’t supportive enough.  Yes they will get bigger (Ugh, I know! Sorry…) so make sure to get fitted by a professional in your last month of pregnancy to have a better idea of what size the girls will be postpartum. You want to make sure that the bra is supportive but not too tight and many LC’s recommend avoiding underwires in nursing bras because the wire or bras that are too tight can contribute to developing mastitis (which as I understand it is no fun at all!). I know a lot of women really like the nursing bras they can get at Target (because of the price point) or Motherhood Maternity (because they have a cute selection) but I was unfortunate enough to be a large enough cup size prepregnancy that neither company offered nursing bras in my size.  The style bra that I found that I love is the Bravado Essential Embrace (pictured) because it was wire free yet still supportive, comfortable, and came in 3 colors (I hate bra shopping – it’s seriously traumatic – so I’m the type of girl that when I find a bra that fits I buy one in every color!).  The price point is pretty high on these bras, usually around $45-50 each, and while I’m normally quite frugal I cannot overemphasize the importance of a good bra in general, let alone a good nursing bra.  Well worth the money, hands down!

 

 

breast padsReusable Breast Pads – Boobies leak and reusable breast pads are a must if you don’t want to be throwing them away constantly (and if you’re reading my blog then you are probably hyper aware of your waste and carbon footprint too!).  You can find reusable breast pads at most retailers or boutiques nowadays but they tend to be really expensive.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m super cheap frugal so naturally I looked for the least expensive options.  I originally planned to DIY my nursing pads but stumbled upon a promotion for FREE breast pads so figured I’d give them a go before I took the time and effort to make them (besides I was busy making burp cloths, bibs, and baby blankets in my last couple months of pregnancy.  Apparently “nesting” for me means I must make ALL the things! lol).  My only constructive criticism of the free breast pads is that they do tend to show a bit through tighter fitting clothes.  So if your wardrobe is more fitted or this is a concern for you then you make want to invest in a more expensive brand like Bamboobies, which advertise that they are less visible (but I cannot attest to this as I personally have not tried them because I didn’t want to invest the money).  But the people I know who use Bamboobies swear by them!

Get 10 pairs FREE (just pay s&h – $12.95 – which seems expensive but is still cheaper per pair than buying reusable breast pads other places) from https://www.breastpads.com/ Current promo code for World Breastfeeding Week: WBWBP15 (If this code has expired a quick internet search will turn up several codes that should work on this site, including AThriftyMom1 or PJBABY)

Check out Bamboobies at their website: http://www.buybamboobies.com/

Feeling crafty? Make your own with this tutorial I found on Pinterest from DIY Mommy: DIY Nursing Pads (That Actually Work!)

B10-232-02_natural_nipple_butter_box_and_jar_whiteA Good Salve or Balm – Breastfeeding is hard work and nipples get raw and sore, especially in the beginning (or when those little teefers start coming in!) and a good salve or balm is a must!

medela-pisa1A Good Breast Pump – Thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act most insurance companies will now cover the cost of a breast pump for nursing mothers. I have a Medela Pump in Style that my health insurance covered in full and I love it!!! There are lots of brands to choose from but availability will depend on your insurance company.  Medela, Ameda, AVENT, and Hygeia all get great reviews so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.  Something to consider, there are two types of breast pump systems: open and closed. An open system means that there is no barrier between the milk collection kit and the pumping mechanism which may allow your milk to be exposed to impurities in the air, such as dust, pollen, smoke, bacteria or viruses.  There is also the possibility that the milk could be sucked back up into the tubing and pump itself where it cannot be cleaned and could allow mold or mildew to grow (This is why you should NEVER resell or buy a used open pump system – no matter how many people you may see selling theirs online or in yard sales. Reputable consignment shops and sales will not accept open pump systems). All current Medela styles are open systems.  Closed systems have a barrier in place that protects the milk from impurities as well as protects the pump mechanism from sucking milk back up into it.  The AVENT Comfort Double Electric, Ameda Purely Yours, Lanisoh Affinity and Signature Pro breast pump series, and Hygeia Q are closed systems.  The Hygeia Q, although less well known, is the only pump endorsed by the La Leche League International.

Call your insurance company for more information on which pumps are covered by your plan.

Tips on how you can get your FREE breast pump in this article by USA Today: How To Get Breast Pumps Covered By Insurance

Also check out Baby Gear Lab’s Top Ranked Breast Pumps and breastpumpratings.org’s Pump Comparison Chart.  Both websites offer great side by side comparison of all the different features as well as lists of pros and cons of each pump.  This is a great resource when trying to decide which pump is the best choice for your family!

 

milksaverproductMilkies Milk Saver – Breastmilk is called liquid gold for a reason! You don’t want to waste even one precious drop and the Milkies Milk-Saver is a reusable, recyclable, BPA/Phalate free tool to help you capture every last drop!!! Simply place on the other breast when nursing or pumping to catch the milk from your let-down.  This is especially helpful in the early months when your supply is still regulating or after baby starts sleeping through the night and you wake up engorged. The down side? The price point on this item is really high at $27.99 but it is so worth it and makes a great gift!

For more information, reviews or to purchase visit Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Milkies-Milk-Saver-Breast-Collector-Storage/

 

Lanisoh TheraPearlCooling Gel Pads – Cooling gel pads are a wonderful idea for when your breasts become engorged or painful.  Simply throw in the fridge or freezer then place over your nipple for instant relief.  Most brands of breast pumps make their own line of cooling gel pads, including Lanisoh, Medela, and Avent as well as a few other non pump brands. I personally prefer the Lanisoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy pads (pictured) because they can be cooled to help with swelling or engorgement, heated to help with clogged ducts or mastitis, or even used as a let down aide while pumping. The Lanisoh TheraPearl pads are available at most major retailers but you can check them out here for more information.

 

Mother's Milk TeaTeas, Herbs, and Oils: 

Traditional Medicine’s Organic Mother’s Milk Tea is a favorite among nursing mothers and widely available at most supermarkets and health food stores.  It is comprised of several herbs known to help promote lactation, including organic bitter fennel fruit, organic anise fruit, organic coriander fruit, organic fenugreek seed, organic blessed thistle herb, organic spearmint, organic lemongrass, organic lemon verbana leaf, and organic marshmallow root.  (Note: some mothers do not like the subtle licorice flavor from the anise fruit)

Get your free sample of Mother’s Milk Tea by sharing your breastfeeding story here: http://www.askthelactationconsultant.com/freebies.html

Other Herbs:

  • Fenugreek – Fenugreek is probably the best known herbal supplement to boost milk supply.  Fenugreek is a middle-eastern spice that comes from a plant in the pea family. It is found in capsule form as well as in tea.  The tea may not be as strong as taking it in capsule form. It can be used in conjunction with Blessed Thistle. Warning: a common side effect is that it may make you smell like maple syrup, so if you are opposed to this smell you may want to avoid it.  You can buy Fenugreek capsules at most health food stores or through Amazon.  Or you can buy the seeds, extract, powder, or capsules through Mountain Rose Herbs.
  • Blessed Thistle – Blessed Thistle is another really common herbal supplement recommended to help increase breastmilk production.  Often recommended to be used in conjunction with Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle is highly regarded by the breastfeeding specialist, Jack Newman. Traditionally used to help with indigestion and with loss of appetite. Blessed Thistle is not the same thing as Milk Thistle, although both have been identified as galactagogues.  Milk Thistle is more often used as a food (peeled, tender shoots) rather than an herbal supplement.  YOu can buy blessed thistle capsules at most health food stores or through Amazon. Or you can buy blessed thistle in bulk to make your own tea or get the extract through Mountain Rose Herbs.
  • Red Raspberry Leaf – Red Raspberry Leaf is a common ingredient in nursing teas and tinctures.  It is high in vitamins and minerals, including niacin (in the B Vitamin family). Also known as a uterine toner it can help the uterus return to it’s normal size immediately following birth.  Some recommend Red Raspberry Leaf to help support uterine health while trying to conceive as well as to prepare for birth after 40+ weeks gestation.  You can buy Red Raspberry Leaf capsules at most health food stores or through Amazon. I buy mine in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs and make my own tea.
  • Chasteberry (Vitex) – Chasteberry is actually a prolactin-inhibitor usually recommended to help balance hormones but has been proven through repeated studies to increase breastmilk production in nursing mothers.  This may be an ideal choice if you are struggling with hormonal imbalances while breastfeeding, including PMS. Note: Chasteberry may start menses in nursing women so avoid if you are relying on lactational amenorrhea as a birth control method.  You can buy Chasteberry (Vitex) capsules at most health food stores or through Amazon.  Or you can buy the berry, seed, powder, or extract through Mountain Rose Herbs.
  • Other less common herbal galactagogues include: Fennel seed (may help with let down and to ease mother’s digestive issues), Goat’s Rue, Alfalfa (avoid if you have an auto-immune disorder), Wild Asparagus, Nettle and Hops.

Get your free Guide to Herbs and Breastfeeding published by Earth Mama Angel Baby here: http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/herbs-for-breastfeeding-ebook 

Essential Oils – There is a lot of information out there about essential oil safety that lists oils that should be avoided when pregnant or nursing and you would do well to take heed and research any essential oil before using it to know your risks.  Essential oil use should always be practiced safely.  Only 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils should be used, especially while pregnant, nursing, or with children.  Some brands of essential oils contain fillers or synthetic chemicals that you don’t want to expose yourself, or your baby, to. Do your research and make sure you trust your brand implicitly before using (I prefer Young Living – for more information on why check out my blog post Why I Chose Young Living Essential Oils). But there are several essential oils that when used appropriately can actually help boost lactation, decrease lactation when ready to wean, and even help relieve pressure and aches associated with engorgement or clogged ducts, including Fennel, Basil, Geranium, Lavender, and Myrrh to name a few.  For more information on essential oils and nursing check out my previous blog post How Essential Oils Can Enhance Your Breastfeeding Experience!

 

IMG_2779 Lactation Cookies – Want to go the extra mile when making a gift basket for a new mom in your life? How about throwing in some homemade lactation cookies! Check out my favorite recipe in my previous blog post Homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies!

 

Do you have a product you love that I failed to mention? Share it in the comments below to keep the conversation going!


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Want an eco-friendly, chemical-free, safe and effective bug spray but don’t want to DIY it? Check out Eco Diva’s Bug Me Not Bug Spray!

I realize that not everyone is a DIYer.  Maybe you don’t have enough time.  Maybe you are turned off by the initial investment to build up your supply cabinet. Or maybe you just like the convenience of pre-made products.  That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to review Eco Diva’s Bug Me Not Bug Spray! It’s a chemical-free formula created with essential oils that is a wonderful alternative to the traditional, chemical-laden commercial bug sprays.

You may remember some of the reasons why I don’t like commercial bug sprays from my DIY Bugspray recipe post.  But in case you missed it, here’s a refresher!

The most common ingredient in bug sprays is the pesticide N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET, which aside from preventing obnoxious bug bites has been recommended to prevent mosquito-born diseases such as malaria and West-Nile virus.  But over recent years DEET has faced a great deal of criticism.

According to Popular Science magazine, there is no direct evidence that DEET harms the nervous system and is generally regarded as safe to use on the skin.  However, according to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Library of Medicine bug spray poisoning from DEET is not only possible but does include nervous system damage.  The most common side effect is skin irritation, including redness, itching, or hives.  But those who use DEET in high concentration may experience more severe reactions, such as blistering, burning, or permanent scars. And if ingested DEET can cause nausea, vomiting, hypotension (low blood pressure), bradycardia (low heart rate), or even neurological damage (such as disorientation, clumsiness when walking, seizures, coma, or even death) in the most severe cases. DEET is especially dangerous for small children and can cause seizures if their skin is exposed to the chemical over a prolonged period. Who wants to risk spraying that on their skin or putting it on their children!?! No thank you!

So, now that your ready to throw out your bug spray, here’s a little about the company Eco Diva and their best selling bug spray.

Eco Diva was founded in 2008 by Jody Norcio in Nashville, TN as a way to provide truly natural, chemical-free, and affordable personal care products.  Since many of their clients had skin sensitivities, Eco Diva vowed to only use pure and natural, plant-based, biodegradable ingredients that are organic when possible. None of their products contain parabens, SLS, phthalates, dyes, chemicals, synthetic fragrances or preservatives.  They are a truly eco-friendly company and choose each ingredient with the environment in mind, working hard to use sustainable practices that keep their eco-footprint at a minimum.  In addition, Eco Diva believes in giving back to their local community.  They support local farmers, provide free bug spray to the homeless, and donate 10% of their proceeds to local charities!  Watch a short video about Eco Diva here.

Eco Diva’s Bug Me Not Bug Spray is an effective blend of essential oils chosen to be safe for your entire family, although they suggest not using on children under 6 months old.  It comes in either a 4 oz or 8 oz plastic amber spray container, with a rustic-looking recycled label and costs $8 or $12 respectively. They list all their ingredients on the website as well as on the label for each bottle.  They include: alcohol-free witch hazel, distilled water, vegetable glycerin, organic lemongrass, eucalyptus, tea tree & juniper berry essential oils, citronella, lavender and cedar wood essential oils.

I’ve had my bottle of Eco Diva’s Bug Me Not Bugspray for a couple weeks now and it seems like every time I think I’ll get a chance to try it out it rains or my plans get changed.  But over the 4th of July weekend we did have a brief let up in the rain and my hubby, daughter, and I went to Grandpa’s house to BBQ so naturally I grabbed my bottle of bug spray to take with us!  My daughter is still under 6 months old so I didn’t use it on her but did spray myself down and figured if it kept the pesky little critters off me then she would most likely be protected since I was holding her most of the day.  The fragrance of the essential oil blends was quite pleasing and the spray went on light and wasn’t too wet or sticky.

I’ll admit that the bugs weren’t overly bad on the 4th of July, I’m guessing that the rain had kept most of them away (now in two weeks when all the new little baby mosquitoes hatch from the puddles all this rain has created we will have to try it out again!).  But I am pleased to say that neither myself nor my daughter were bothered by any biting insects.  House flies were somewhat obnoxious that day but as near as I can tell traditional bug sprays aren’t designed to keep flies from landing on you either. I haven’t convinced the hubby to try it out yet – he will be the true test of the effectiveness of this formula.  I’ll try to remember to post an update after he tries it out.

In summary, the pros and cons of Eco Diva’s Bug Me Not Bug Spray are:

Pros:

  • Safe for the entire family
  • No parabens, SLS, phthalates, dyes, chemicals, synthetic fragrances or preservatives
  • Environmentally responsible ingredients
  • Sustainable business practices
  • Supports a small business that believes in giving back to their community
  • Smells good
  • Lightweight – not too wet or sticky like some commercial bug sprays

Cons:

  • Plastic container – essential oils will degrade plastic over time but it is much more cost effective (and lighter weight) than glass containers and the savings are passed on to you the consumer.  Just make sure to buy the small bottle if you don’t think you will use it all that often and remember to recycle your container when you are finished.
  • More expensive than store bought bug spray – but still cheaper than other eco-friendly, chemical-free formulas

Overall I’m quite pleased with Eco Diva’s Bug Me Not Bug Spray and would highly recommend it to anyone who didn’t want to make their own.  It lives in my diaper bag so that I always have it with me and don’t have to worry about exposing my baby to nasty chemicals if it leaks (but so far it hasn’t).  I look forward to trying it out on days when the bugs are more aggressive than they were on the 4th of July and convincing my hubby to try it for himself since he’s a mosquito magnet!

 

If you’re local to the Nashville area you can find Eco Diva’s But Me Not Bug Spray and other products at FirefliesWhite’s Mercantile, Artistry SpaSalon, and Pumpkin Doodle as well as at the Franklin Farmers Market.

If you’re like me and not local you can order your own Bug Me Not Bugspray from Eco Diva’s website: ecodiva.co.  Also make sure to check out their other products, including eco-friendly sunscreen, eczema relief, and doggie wash!

And make sure to go and “like” Eco Diva on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ecodiva.tn

 

Do you have a natural product you want me to review? Send me a message! I’d love to try it out!

 


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The Tekhni Arche Peacock Woven Wrap – The Perfect Wrap for the Eco-Conscious Babywearing Noob!

When I was pregnant with my little one I went to a local Green Expo and met a girl who was manning a cloth diaper table and wearing her babies wrapped up on her back and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I vowed then and there to learn everything I could about babywearing!  She informed me that she was a member of a local babywearing swap group and invited me to join their Facebook page and attend a Babywearing 101 meeting to learn all about it.  I then proceeded to seek out a variety of Babywearing apparatuses and by the time my baby was born I had a Moby stretchy wrap, a Maya ring sling, a K’Tan Breeze, and an Ergobaby soft-structured carrier (SSC) – as you can see, I don’t do anything half-assed, I was all in!

After my daughter was born I was super excited to start trying out all my new carriers.  My Maya ring sling was the first I used and it was wonderful for keeping my newborn up close to me during our bi-weekly Costco trips and to keep strangers hands out of my baby’s face (I still to this day do not understand what it is about being pregnant and having a baby that means you no longer have any right to personal space).  Once I learned to adjust the rails and get a good seat I loved it and I still keep it in my car for quick, unexpected trips to the grocery store, etc. because who really wants to lug that infant car seat around the store!?!

The next one I tried was my Moby stretchy wrap and this one quickly became my favorite way to carry.  Took a little bit to learn how to adjust the rails so that my baby was tight enough but after a few tries around the house we were ready for big adventures into the great outdoors! But my baby was over 9 lbs at birth and I knew she would quickly outgrow a stretchy wrap and while I love my Ergobaby for quick planned trips or errands that have multiple stops it just really wasn’t as comfortable to me as wrapping.  (And I’ll be honest, I don’t love my K’Tan, not really sure why, just not my preferred way to babywear). So I began my quest for the perfect woven wrap.

I had previously done a bit of browsing in the woven wrap arena and quickly learned that for the most part they were out of my price range, at least until I learned how to wrap well and felt I could justify the expense. After getting pretty comfortable with using the Moby and the Front-Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) I knew I wanted to invest in a woven wrap to learn new carries and eventually to get my baby on my back.  So back to the online babywearing swap groups I went.  I searched and searched and cried a little every time I fell in love with a $300-400 woven wrap.  Until one day on the Babywearing on a Budget Facebook group I saw the perfect wrap, in my ideal color scheme, for a price I could afford!!! I was so excited… until I read the comments and learned that it had already been sold…. I shed more than one tear that day.  But not to be thwarted I set out with a new DISO (desperately in search of) wrap: the Tekhni Arche Peacock.

At the time I didn’t even realize how perfect this wrap was for me but after a little research, this is what I learned:

Tekhni is a relatively new brand of woven wraps that was started by Alisa DeMarco, a mom and textile designer, in 2013.  Her mission was to share her love of babywearing and bring woven wraps to babywearing enthusiasts at affordable prices.

The Arche line of woven wraps are an introductory line geared towards babywearing beginners and smaller babies.  It is woven out of thin, flexible, lightweight material.  Arche blends are 35% cotton and 65% repreve.  Now you may be wondering what in the world repreve is… I know I was.  And honestly, this is what sold me on the Arche line.  Repreve is a recycled fiber made out of post-consumer waste and plastic bottles.  In fact, a size M wrap is made of approximately 25 recycled water bottles!

The Arche line is an affordable line of woven wraps available brand new for $99 regardless of which size you purchase.  It is available in three sizes: Small (4.2 meters), Medium (4.7 meters), and Large (5.2 meters) and available in three colors: Peacock (pictured below), Storm (blue hues), and Sunset (multi-colored with reds and blues).

So firmly set on my mission to find a Tekhni Arche Peacock I scoured the interwebz.  I checked every online babywearing swap group and was so disappointed that I couldn’t find one in my base size wrap (my base size is a size 6 – typically around 4.7 meters long) and wasn’t ready to try a shortie wrap yet.  I had perused Tekhni’s etsy page and at the time she only had a size S in stock (I’m kind of a “fluffy” mom and in hindsight probably could’ve worn a S, which is the equivalent of a size 5 wrap but I was scared it would be too short at the time).  So I took a chance and sent a message to Alisa through the etsy page and asked her if the line had been discontinued.   Alisa responded quickly and said she would check her inventory to see if she had any in stock and to my surprise she later sent me a message saying she had ONE size M and that she would list it on her etsy page for me to purchase.  I had hoped to ask for a wrap for Mother’s Day and this was late April.  But knowing that I couldn’t afford to wait I jumped at the opportunity and purchased it as my early Mother’s Day present to myself!

new tekhni

My Tekhni Arche Peacock fresh out of the package! 

When my new wrap came in the mail I was so excited I could barely wait to start wearing my baby! But like a good little consumer I read the instructions and washed my wrap as suggested before wrapping. After the first wash my wrap was already super soft and flexible (you will often hear this referred to as “floppy” and many woven wraps have to be broken in first before they are easily mold-able).  I was pleased to learn that it was an easy transition from my stretchy Moby wrap to my Arche Peacock and I was easily able to wrap my little one up using the FWCC carry that I was familiar with.  The wrap was nice and comfortable and didn’t cut into me even when wearing my daughter on long walks around the neighborhood.  In addition, the material is very breathable and we are comfortable wrapped up together even in the warm, Alabama climate (it’s been in the 90’s the last week or so) even though my little one is a furnace just like her daddy!

I’ve now had my Tekhni Arche Peacock for about a month and a half and have been pleased with how easy my wrap has been to work with while learning new carries.  I’ve been slowly but surely working my way through the 30 Day Wrap Challenge list, although its going to take me more like 6 months than 30 days to complete it (see pic below), and my Arche Peacock has done beautifully with all the base carries (just gotta get on making my DIY Osnaburg shortie wrap to go back and learn the shortie carries).  I haven’t braved the back carry yet but my little one is only just starting to sit up unassisted so it’s only a matter of time before I beg the hubby to be a spotter and start practicing my superman throw to get her back there!  I’m confident that my Arche Peacock is up for the task!

30DayWrapChallenge

30 Day Wrap Challenge

kangaroo carry

Kangaroo carry with the Tekhni Arche Peacock

As I mentioned previously, my daughter is not so little.  Born at 9 lbs 4 oz she has maintained her growth trajectory at the 90th percentile and was 16 lbs at her 4 month check up.  So sadly, we will be outgrowing the Arche Peacock before too long.  But currently it is still up for the challenge and it is easy to wrap her up and feel like she is well supported despite not being a “smaller baby” like the wrap is geared towards.

My ONLY constructive criticism of the Arche line is the thread shifting (pictured below) but Tekhni was up front about this tendency on their etsy page so it was no big surprise.  It is due to this particular fabric weave and not common with their other lines of woven wraps. I followed their washing instructions to help lock the threads into place and prevent excessive thread shifting but still notice it in a few places, mostly where I tend to grab in order to tighten my rails.  It looks like this:

arche pulls

thread shifting

But I can actually shift the threads back into place for the most part, it just takes a little time and TLC to do so.  Overall, this is something I can live with.

In summary, the pros and cons of the Tekhni Arche Peacock with Repreve are:

Pros:

  • cost, any size for $99 brand new
  • repreve blend for the eco-conscious
  • lightweight and breathable – excellent choice for warmer climates
  • good beginner wrap
  • beautiful colors!
  • great customer service!
  • supports a work-at-home-mom (WAHM)

Cons:

  • designed for smaller babies so you would have to upgrade when baby gets above 20 lbs
  • tendency towards thread shifting

Overall I’m in love with my Tekhni Arche Peacock wrap and will be sad when my baby grows out of it but am thankful to have discovered such a wonderful company and will likely buy another Tekhni when I’m ready to upgrade and invest more in my next woven!

Want to know more? Check out Tekhni’s website for more information about the Arche line of woven wraps or to learn about their other wrap designs!

More pics and info of the Arche Peacock on Tekhni’s Facebook page.

More information on Repreve here: What is Repreve? 

Check out the feature article on Tekhni in Babywearing Magazine’s Budget Issue.