Tag Archives: green mom

The Great Bathroom Purge of 2010

Eek! 8O Here’s a little peek at what my health and beauty arsenal used to look like:

And that’s just a very small sampling of what my bathroom closet used to hold. I have 4 full shelves of this stuff. I might go so far as to call myself a bit of a product junkie.

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Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and it absorbs anything you put on it. That fact, coupled with the possibility of conceiving another baby in the near future, has inspired my commitment to put only natural, healthy, pure things on my skin.

I guess it was a natural progression for me. How can you work to actively eliminate toxins from your family’s environment and daily food choices without becoming more conscious of the products you’re putting on/into/around your body? After all, as a breastfeeding mama, anything that I come in contact with has the potential of ending up in my breastmilk. :eek:

So, shortly before the recent holidays, I decided to purge my bathroom closet of all the things I wasn’t using because I just knew they were doing more harm than good. Happy 2011 = Out with the old, in with the new, right? The only problem: Where do I find the “new”?

There are so many products on the market now that are trying to be the next “green” thing, but most of them aren’t much better than their previous counterparts. Greenwashing is rampant, and, as a consumer, it’s hard to know who to trust.

These?

What about these?

My first step was to simply cut things out. Since the cystic acne I had for years has gone away (woot!), I don’t wear much makeup anymore. I don’t wear perfume, and I have cut way, way back on hair products.

Honestly, if I could just use the vegetables out of my fridge as beauty products, I would. But while an avocado might make a nice face mask, there are some products I just need – deodorant, mascara, lip balm, a good facial scrub…

I’m no longer  high maintenance, but I would still like to look and feel somewhat maintained, yaknowwhatimean? I want natural, I want pure, I want organic…but I also want effective and fun. I can’t give up primping altogether… ;)

Which brings me to the first beauty products I’ve ever tried that remind me of a truly healthy organic meal for the skin. I could just float away on the content feeling I get after feeding my body well, and Miessence has shown me that feeding my skin well feels just as good!

Danika from Your Organic Life was kind enough to send me a few sample packets of Miessence certified organic products! Here are my thoughts on each:

  • Cleanser – Oops, I forgot to keep the packet so I’m not sure which one I had, but I loved this cleanser. It did not foam up and make suds on my face, but most natural products don’t. It’s one of the hardest things to get used to when switching to non-toxic products. Bubbles do not equal clean!
  • Balancing Skin Conditioner – This product is meant to feed nutrients to the skin and provide a hydration base for the moisturizer. The feel was nice, but I found the scent a little off-putting. :(
  • Probiotic Skin Brightener – Meant to break down impurities and bring vitality to the skin. Wow…I’m in love! I just swiped this on after the skin conditioner, and it had a lovely fresh scent that lingered. It totally eliminated the scent of the conditioner, and I loved how it made my skin feel. Glowy, fresh and super healthy!
  • Balancing Moisturizer – I have never used moisturizer on a regular basis in my life. I should, but I don’t. Let me tell you, if I had a big bottle of this, I would use it every day. I felt comfortable enough to go out with nothing else on my face after using this moisturizer, and I did not feel greasy or shiny at all. It moisturized my skin flawlessly.
  • Intensive Body Cream – Like I said, I’ve never been one to moisturize, and that includes my body (except maybe my feet, but that’s really it.) I just never bothered to do it with any regularity. I used this sample on my legs and elbows and they just drank it up. The scent was nice and light and the cream itself left me feeling soft and smooth.
  • Nourishing Hand Cream – A lovely treat to keep at my desk at work. I never realized how un-nourished my hands were until Miessence made them feel so much better!

Miessence products are a little pricier than your average drugstore products, but when I consider how much I’ve spent in the past on Proactiv, chemical peels, and countless other beauty items, the price seems worth it if the goods work. I mean, they are certified organic to international food standards – how great is that!? To give you an idea of how much I liked them, I’ve even checked out their information on becoming a consultant! Hmmm…it’s a thought…

I could have browsed Danika’s site for hours…baby products, cosmetics, oral care, household cleaners, even nutritional supplements – they all looked so tempting. For now, I’m totally coveting the In-Liven Probiotics and the Delicious Gourmand botanical perfume, along with the skin care system and Tahitian Breeze roll-on deodorant. I plan to make them part of my new health and beauty lineup just as soon as I can swing it.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Miessence, visit Danika at Your Organic Life!

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The only problem I have now? What do I do with this big bag of toxic beauty stuff I have? I know I probably shouldn’t just throw it in the trash, right? Does anyone have any suggestions?

I was not compensated in any way for writing this review. I received a few sample packets of the products mentioned, but I was under no obligation to provide a review of any kind. Review is based on my personal experience with Miessence products.

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Filed under Green Living, Product & Service Reviews

Your Guide to November Events…

Call me a worry wart, but as much as I love featuring my favorite products and offering giveaways, I always fear that I may be making things confusing or difficult for you, my dear readers, and I certainly want to avoid that when I can. So today’s post is dedicated to providing a little clarity on November’s events! :)

Here’s a roundup:

  • Now: Enter to win a $25 gift card from EcoMom here. Note: EcoMom is NOT just for moms! They carry cool eco-friendly stuff for foodies too! ;)
  • Nov. 1 – 10: I’m participating in the Blogmania Dream Team’s Holiday Open House! Check my blog on those dates for some healthy holiday recipes and a few of my favorite gift ideas. Just stop by and read, or link up your own holiday post (just write one one any topic you’d like), and you could win some great prizes! (See the button on my sidebar…)
  • Nov 11 – 18 – My One Whole Year Event! Baby boy is turning one and we’ve hit the one year breastfeeding milestone! To thank my readers and online friends for all the help and support I’ve received over the past year, I’ve put together a prize package worth over $120. Entries will be easy, and one lucky winner takes all! My sponsors have been very generous with some great prizes, along with discounts and other offers, so you don’t want to miss these 7 days of Sponsor Spotlights! For now, grab the button on my sidebar and put it on your blog for an extra entry! If you do, let me know here.
  • Nov. 18: I will choose and announce winner of the One Whole Year giveaway!
  • Nov. 25: I will choose and announce winner of the EcoMom giveaway!

As you can see, there’s a lot going on over here at ABCGP, and I know I’ve been a little light on the posts lately. But that’s about to change! November’s going to be a fun, FULL month, so I hope you’ll join me!

(But for today, first things first. We’re off to little man’s first Halloween party! :D ) Happy Halloween, everyone!!!


If you have any blog events going on – or questions about mine – be sure to let me know!

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Green Living, Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, The Everyday

I’m tempted to call this Almost Compost Stew…

Look out….I’m feeling kinda full of myself right now. 

Why? Well, partly because my every color of the rainbow found it’s way into my son’s belly today, and that makes me a happy mom :D

But I’m also feeling very proud of myself because I used up the vegetables cluttering my counter and fridge.

It’s no big deal, really. I just made dinner. But I didn’t have a clear cut recipe (the classic “nothing to make” syndrome) so my big victory was found in using up the fresh items I had on hand instead of letting my hectic schedule get the best of me until they all found their way into the compost bin.

It happens far too often. I’m not proud.

Not that cooking a few veggies is hard, but sometimes just trying to figure out what to do with them takes more time than I have. 

Today, I was determined NOT to let my precious veggies go to waste. I was also determined NOT to go to the store. So I let the kitchen muse take over and started tossing ingredients until they looked like dinner. 

You know what? It was GOOOOOODI!

Here’s the list of what I happened to have on hand, and what I did with it:

  • one pound of grass-fed beef from North Mountain Pastures
  • 2 shallots (sliced thin)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 fresh tomatoes (1 cut into chunks, 3 put through food processor until liquidy)
  • one cup frozen black eyed peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas from our garden
  • 2 large handfuls fresh spinach, chopped 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • whole wheat couscous
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste

Brown beef, shallots and garlic (I used an electric skillet.)  Add all other ingredients except couscous and cheese. Cook on low for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Serve over couscous; top with cheese, if desired.

(It almost sounds like a real recipe!)

I said it was good, I never said it was pretty

…but I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself for making something out of nothing. 

(Next time, this recipe gets morphed into a casserole with crunchy crumbs on top.)

The only problem: What do I call it?

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Do you ever have a problem using up your fresh ingredients? What’s your favorite way to use things up when you have a variety on hand?

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Filed under Green Living, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Ugly food needs love, too…

I read a lot of blog posts that inspire me, but every once in a while one really gets inside my head and takes root…

That’s what happened when I read a certain chocolate-covered post about embracing your makeup-free self. I read Katie’s words, and posted my half-face makeup-free picture, and felt pretty good about it. 

But then I got a little crazy…

You see, my birthday is on Monday and it’s got me feeling a little introspective. I’ve been thinking a lot about my age, my new role as a mother, my goals and my achievements, the fact that the body I’ve struggled with for so long now nourishes another body, and what it means to be ?? years old. So, with those things and Katie’s challenge mingling in my head, I decided to do the unthinkable…

I went to work with. no. makeup.
8O

You heard me.

And get this–nobody even noticed. At least I don’t think they did. Nobody said anything.

While this may not be a big deal to many, it was a major big deal for me. As someone who spent years dealing with cystic acne, I know what it’s like to cake on makeup and panic at the mere hint of forgetting my compact at home on the bathroom counter. 

I know what it’s like to wear my long hair down in the middle of a 100º summer day because I don’t want to uncover all the glaring imperfections.

I know what it’s like when even a gentle touch on my skin causes sharp, searing pain.

And, for some reason I do not understand, I now know what it’s like when that all goes away. Maybe it’s because my stress levels have gone down, maybe it’s because of the hormonal changes that happened during my pregnancy, maybe it’s because I’ve all but given up processed foods, and maybe it’s a combination of all the positive lifestyle changes I’ve made, but I don’t deal with anything more than the occasional minor blemish now.

And this past week, when we had 4 or 5 days of 100º+ weather, I wore my hair up. :D

And this got me thinking even further…

I always try to put my best food forward on my blog, but sometimes the healthiest, tastiest and most satisfying meals just don’t have a whole lot of eye appeal. I’m sure you’ve all been there–working and creating in the kitchen only to produce an edible creation that, visually, is less than blog-worthy and photographs like a big pile of yuck. Or maybe, you just don’t glam your food up for the camera every single time you eat. (If that is the case, good for you. Blogging can creep in and take over…)

In the spirit of loving ourselves unadorned and unembellished, and accepting our natural beauty and intrinsic worth, I’d like to show a little  love to some of the “swept-under-the-proverbial-carpet” unblog food of the past few weeks.

I’m warning ya: it ain’t fancy, but it sure is functional.

Charcoal grilled burgers…SUNSHINE burgers, in fact. Can you believe it? Would you ever have guessed they were Sunshine Burgers? Nope. I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that they tasted fantastic, too! Nothing beats the smoky mesquite-y taste of food on a charcoal grill, except maybe that same charcoal-grilled food eaten with good friends…

And a whole wheat wrap filled with the leanest pulled pork you’ll ever see, some mango, a little pineapple chipotle salsa, and brown rice. 

Photogenic? No way. Healthy and deeeeelish? You betcha!

Since I often delete ugly food pics without a second thought, I don’t have very many. But I’m thinking that may have to change. The unpretties have served me well, and they, too, deserve their time to shine!

I salute you and appreciate you, ugly food, and from here on out I vow that you will have a permanent place on my blog, although not every day;)

I encourage all of you bloggers out there to share the love for less-than-perfect-looking food! Go back through your photo files and post those pics that didn’t make it the first time around!

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Filed under Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Sunshine Stack

I love to cook. I always have. But when it comes to making lunch just for me on my days at home, I often bypass the whole mess and just snack, or heat up some leftovers. There’s really nothing wrong with that, I guess, but today I felt like making myself a real meal. Maybe that’s because it’s rainy outside. We need the rain badly, though, so instead of sunshine outside, I thought I’d incorporate a few rays into my lunch.  

Sadly, I’m down to my last Southwestern Sunshine Burger. :( I found a single box in an out-of-the-way health food store, which I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting soon.

Sometimes, I put my Sunshine Burger on a bun. But the beef I have with buns is that they often seem like nothing more than a vehicle for the real star of the meal, and they contain a lot of empty carbs for something I don’t really enjoy. Don’t get me wrong…I like a good hunk of bread as much as the next guy, but a burger bun just doesn’t excite me too much.

But who needs a bun when you’ve got a fat sweet potato?!

So I rubbed the taters with a mere touch of coconut oil and salt, and set them a bakin’ in the oven (along with a few extras for baby’s dinner later): about 20 minutes at 350º, then another 15 or so at 400º, turning throughout for even browning. I baked the Sunshine Burger along with them until it was nice and crispy.

Hmmm….what jives with the burger’s Southwestern flair? Salsa! 

But I don’t have any salsa. :|

What I do have, and need to use up, is this array of goodies, which I ran through the food processor to create a little somethin’ somethin’ that sort of resembled a salsa.

  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/8 cup fresh onion
  • 1 clove of garlic from our garden
  • 4 yellow pear tomatoes from our garden
  • 1 pinch cumin
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • several sprigs of cilantro Oops. Cilantro was just a little too far past its prime and is now in the compost.

Directions: Hit “pulse” a few times instead of “on” so as not to scare the baby. 


Once my burger and tater bun were baked to perfection, I simply stacked them up!

  1. sweet potato
  2. 1/2 Sunshine Burger
  3. veg “salsa”
  4. 1/2 Sunshine Burger
  5. more “salsa”
  6. the last of my cheddar cheese curds (insert teary-eyed emoticon here!)
  7. another hot round of sweet potato to top it off

It still could have benefited from a touch of real tomatoey salsa, but all in all this was a pretty fantastic lunch. I’m not sure why I don’t treat myself to a real lunch more often, especially considering this was made entirely of ingredients I had in the house, and it only took a few minutes to put together. From now on, I think making my own healthy lunch a priority is a new goal. 

Because I’m worth it!

And now that I’m feeling all inspired and self-esteemy, I’d like to take Chocolate-Covered Katie up on her challenge to post a no-makeup pic on my blog! OK, so this one is not a full face no-makeup pic, but it’s not exactly flattering. And there’s NO makeup, plus I think it was taken on a no-wash hair day, so it fits the bill.

I took it to document (just for my own use) the crazy hair loss that started about 3 1/2 months after I gave birth. Did you know that some lucky women’s hormones cause them to lose clump after clump of hair after childbirth? I knew this going in, because it happened when I lost my first pregnancy, but I didn’t expect to lose so much. This is during the period of regrowth, and trust me when I tell you this pic doesn’t do it justice! I have full-on bangs now that I never intended, and a full head of short hair underneath my long hair! 

Here it is….with no self-disparaging comment, although I’m tempted. I look at my weird hair as just another reminder of how lucky I am to be a healthy mommy to my healthy boy!

…and for the sake of comparison, the mascara and eyeliner version. 

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Do you eat your burger on a bun? If so, do you really want the bun, or do you just eat it because it’s there?

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food