Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Honest Company

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook than you probably know that I put an order in with The Honest Company

The company was founded by Jessica Alba who as an allergy sufferer and new mother was very concerned with the household products she was using day to day. She joined forces with Christopher Gavigan and together they formed The Honest Company. Non toxic and all natural cleaning products, bath and body products, baby products and even vitamins, this company has something for everyone, it's not just for parents.

If you want to learn more about the company you can watch this video:

I have wanted to try the products for quite some time as I really believe in what this company stands for, I think the products are very reasonably priced and I have been trying to slowly switch out the more toxic products in my home. The company however did not ship to Canada (they are based in California), until now. I did a little happy dance when they finally opened it up to us Northeners.

As you can see in the above photo my first order included quite a variety of products. I really wanted to try a broad spectrum of goods in order to get a real feel for the company overall as well as be able to report to you what I thought based on more than one or two things.

I opted to do an essentials bundle which saved considerable money. You choose the five items you want for $35.95, you can also add up to three more products for a 25% savings. Shipping is very reasonable at $5.95, but the bad news? They charge an international fee up front which covers taxes, duties etc..of 25%. In my opinion it's still worth it. The products are shipped via Fedex and arrive very quickly right to your front door, and the products themselves are worth the extra cost and hassle.

Now that I have the nitty gritty details out of the way let's talk about the products. Here is what I ordered and have been using:

Multi Surface Cleaner - this is my go to cleaner now. It has a nice light grapefruit scent and I use it on countertops, tables, floors etc.

Bathroom Cleaner - I love the mint eucalyptus scent, so fresh and not your standard eye watering lemon scented cleaner. I use it on the sinks, tub, shower and toilet seats and it works really well.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner - this is probably my least favourite scent, a combination of tea tree oil and eucalyptus. It isn't horrible though and most importantly it cleans well. It's worth losing the toxic cleaner I usually use.

Those are the three cleaning products I have tried out so far. I have used them all several times so this isn't a one time use review. I wanted to really integrate them into the household routine before passing judgement and reporting to you. Here are a couple of overall thoughts:

1. The spray bottles are well made and have good sprayers but the only options are off or stream. I like the spray option and so have set the nozzle just a little bit away from off in order to make make a wide spray/mist.

2. Normally when I clean my bathrooms I have windows open and fans on and my eyes are still irritated and I can really feel it in my lungs. Not so with these products at all. While I still open windows and turn on fans I doubt I even need to as they don't bother me whatsoever.

Now on to the bath/body products:

Shampoo/Body Wash - this has a nice light scent and foams really well, something I was surprised about as natural shampoos often don't suds at all or very little at least. It cleans hair very well but doesn't feel as slick as regular shampoo and you definitely need to follow with conditioner, which I do anyway. The whole house uses this, even me with my very long hair.

Conditioner - this product is amazing. It gives you the most lovely well conditioned mane and makes up for the slightly drier feel you get from the shampoo. The scent is the same as the shampoo, a light orange vanilla which I really like.

Bubble Bath - I really love this lightly tangerine scented bubble bath. You get lots of bubbles, easily the same as the Johnson and Johnson brand I was using previously and the kiddies smell fresh and clean, no irritated eyes when they come out either. The scent is not a kids only scent and works great for adults too. At first I didn't like the screw lid, having been used to the lid that pops up and you can then squirt but I actually find I use less product with the screw off lid and so have changed my mind.

Body Oil - again, a nice light scent. I like to slather the kiddies when they get out of the bathtub (they love this little routine) and I use it all over myself as well. It's fast absorbing and very moisturizing.

A few notes about The Honest Company overall:

1. I love that everything is scented with essential oils, and not too much. It keeps everything smelling fresh and light but doesn't irritate my eyes and nose (and lungs!)

2. Customer service is excellent. They have the option to live chat online while you are putting together your order and I love that. I was able to have my product and shipping questions answered immediately as I went along.

3. I really love the packaging. It's chic, clean and homey, and looks great on my shelves and in my home.

If you want to sign up for The Honest Company yourself you can use this link here. Full disclosure, it does earn me some credit off of my next order, but I would never falsely report on a product(s) to earn that credit. Whether anyone signs up with the link or not I will still be continuing to order, I really love the product.

So there you have it, my thoughts on The Honest Company. I know a few of you have been waiting for this review so I hope I answered any questions you might have had, if not just pop them in the comments section and I will answer them there.

Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A sweet and salty treat

If you're looking for a really easy treat this Rolo and Ritz marriage fits the bill perfectly.

Just turn your oven on to 350F. Once it's warm enough, lay your Ritz crackers salty side down on a cookie sheet, place a Rolo on top of each one and pop them in the oven for 4-5min.

 When they come out of the oven all warm and soft place another Ritz cracker on top of each one.

Squish that bad boy down like a sweet and salty sandwich treat and away you go.

Enjoy as many as you like (I won't tell…).

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Natural beauty product reviews

This is part two of an ongoing series of blog posts about natural and clean beauty products and my efforts to switch out my regular and more toxic products for these ones. You can read the first post here.

I am going to limit my posts to two or three products for each one, here are today's two:

This Reflecting Gloss from Juice Beauty is really nice. It's light, has a nice scent, good colour and isn't sticky (a huge pet peeve of mine…if it's sticky it's out). You do have to reapply it after eating etc..which is just par for the course with a gloss (unless it's also a stain) which I don't mind doing. I have the colour Fig and I really like Pink so would probably order that one too. A con to this product is that there is not a lot of selection as far as colours go. The gloss is $15 which is pretty high in my opinion but you usually do have to pay more for an organic product. Shipping is also a bit high….$6 if you are just ordering this gloss (and live in Canada like I do), but the shipping varies depending on what you order. I did find another site that carries it in Canada, the gloss is two dollars more but shipping is free so it's less expensive in the long run. I have never ordered from this site so have no comments or feedback about it.

The next thing I have been using is this Eye Make Up Remover from Canadian company The Green Beaver. I really like it. There is no scent, it's not oily at all, removes the make up easily and most importantly it doesn't irritate my eyes at all. I don't wear waterproof mascara so I can't testify to how well it works for removal on a product like that but it does say in the write up that it removes it with ease. Price point is a bit high at $16.99, but I know that Thrifty Foods carries it in their health food section and it was about two dollars cheaper. I completely lucked out on my purchase and found it at Winners for $7.99 so shop around, you may get lucky too. 

That's it for this post, but I have lots more to come. If there is a particular product you would like to see reviewed or would like to share with me because you're a big fan than please leave a comment in the section below and let me know.

Happy Thursday! :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Miracle Beach 5K race recap

Yesterday my sister Amanda and I ran the Miracle Beach 5K in Black Creek BC. The race is almost totally flat (only one small hill on our course) so it's a great starter race for beginners or a great speed race for those who are more advanced. I am the former having only ever run one other race, another 5K approx 6 and a half years ago. I have run on my own off and on but this is the first time I have run with a goal in mind, and this race was perfect for that. There is also a 10k, a kids fun run and walkers are more than welcome, they start a half hour before the runners.

Getting ready to go...

I love this pic of everyone ready to hit start on their Garmin's as soon as the horn blows...

Overall the race felt "easy", not as in truly easy, it was still running for goodness sakes, but I ran without music and Amanda and I were able to chat while we ran....two things I normally don't do. We also ran at a good pace. Normally I run at home at about a 7 to 7.30 min/km and this race we both maintained 6.3 min/km which I was both surprised and super happy about. I must be getting better! And it turns out that running with a buddy is a good thing, it distracts you from how long the race is as the kms just felt like they flew by.

Here we are coming down the final stretch and really starting to push it to finish with our best effort...

Which we most definitely time was 33 min on the nose and Amanda was 33.1. Thrilled with that...a PR for me as my last race mentioned above was 35+ min, and this gives me a new time to beat!

Hugs from Marshall...

Water from Ella...

And a husband to take pictures...what a great team I have!

Looking fierce..

Hamming it up...

So glad to be able to run this race with my sister.

Time to stretch it out..

Then it was Ella's turn to run in the 1km kids fun run..

She was a champ, coming in third in a big field of kids. Well done little girl!

We stuck around for awhile afterwards and I won a pie as a door prize which I then took to lunch at Amanda's. I had a gloriously hot shower as soon as I got to her was cold at the race and standing around as long as we did afterwards gave me quite a chill.

 We finished the day by heading to Coastal Black Winery for their awesome Pumpkin Fest. It's new this year and there is still one weekend left to join in if you haven't been by yet. Check out the video on the home page of the Coastal Black link to see what it's all about.

I must admit that the night before race day I was wondering why in the heck I had entered. I mean really...who wants to get up at 6am on a Sunday to drive two and a half hours to run a race? Turns out I do....and I loved it. I'm already looking towards my next race....Cinnamon Bun Run anyone??

I would definitely recommend the Miracle Beach race as one for you to put on your list, the members are helpful and friendly and although I didn't have any of the food because I was heading to my sisters it smelled also happened to be served by Fusilli Grill which is one of my favourite Campbell River restaurants. Speaking of the Grill, they are joining in again next year for the Race's 25th year and will be offering 25% off to out of towner race runners at their restaurant. 
The club is very excited for their 25th race next year and plans are in the works to make it very special..I know I'll be back! :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Being Thankful

The weather has been perfect this weekend, beautiful sunshine, glorious colour with the changing leaves, a bit brisk in temperature...just enough to require a scarf but not enough that you really need to bundle up, and yesterday the house was filled with the delicious smells of turkey, stuffing and all that goes with a great big Thanksgiving dinner.

I was thrilled to share it with these folks who generously drove a few hours to enjoy the feast at our table....bringing smiles, laughter and a piece of what I've been missing this last little family.

I often wish that we lived closer together, where popping by for tea is a regular occurrence, but unfortunately we are just a bit far apart for that so I'll take what I can get.

I was left with such a feeling of love after everyone left, and that is what I am really thankful for this year. There is no one more important than the people in your life and it's important to enjoy them and share with them as much as you can.

I tried a little something different for dessert this year, not quite pumpkin pie but close and a whole lot easier. These pumpkin pie cupcakes are super simple, require very few ingredients, and are really tasty too.

The original recipe can be found here.

Songza is on in the background pretty much all the time here these days and one of the playlists we've been enjoying has been Timeless Pop Rock Hits. When this Ray Charles song came on yesterday Chris and I stopped cooking and had a dance break in the it, just feels so happy. :)

I sure hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend so far, we will be taking it easy today and getting in some post feast walks in the sunshine.

Thank you so much for reading (another thing I'm thankful readers are the best!)!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Making the switch

 Slowly but surely I am changing out many of my beauty products for more eco friendly and non toxic options. I have used many different brands and types of make up over the years and have often had reactions to the products I have used. Usually mild to moderate and thankfully I have never had a severe reaction to anything, but honestly who wants to be irritated by the make up or beauty product they are using? 
The biggest one for me is usually mascara. I can't tell you how many mascaras I have gone through that have made my eyes water, sting, itch and just generally feel irritated. I have been using Tarte's Lights Camera Action mascara for a couple of months now and I really really like it. It doesn't clump, even with multiple coats, doesn't flake, builds big beautiful lashes and most importantly it doesn't irritate my eyes. This one is a definite winner for me. I purchased mine from Sephora, the link is here. The price point is high but I haven't been able to find anything comparable for a lower price. If you have I would love to hear about it so please share in the comments section.

My current cleanser is this one from Josie Maran, it's her Argan Cleansing Oil and I really like how it works. At first it feels odd to cleanse your face with an oil but once you add water it begins to emulsify and you'll be quite surprised I think with the results. Your skin will feel cleansed, smooth and hydrated. My only complaint with this cleanser is that it does not remove make up (even though it says it does). I much prefer to just wash my face in the shower before I go to bed rather than having to remove my make up prior. It's just an extra step and by the time I'm heading to bed I just want to go to bed. Other than that I love this product.

I intend to talk about and review the products I'm trying out/using as part of a regular posting series so stay tuned for more and if you have any natural and non toxic products you're loving please share, I would love to hear about them.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Motivation Monday

This is a good quote to keep in mind and I will admit that in the past held true for me in regards to running. In my vision of my dream self I always saw myself as a know the kind.. tall lean athletes effortlessly eating up the miles...but when I would get out there I looked nothing like an athlete and more like a sweating puffing wheezing lump slowly going down the road in spurts. I would just say to myself that some people are built to run and some aren't and I was the latter. I'm here to tell you now that is not true. Becoming a runner is hard, no doubt about it and it's even harder to become a runner when you're overweight but anyone can run and the more you do the easier it becomes. When I hit a straight run through of 5K with no walking I cried a little. I pushed myself very hard to do that and it was worth every heavy legged ragged breathed step. It was both a mental and physical block for me and I got beyond it. It felt sooooo good.
I'm not quite to my mental goal of the tall lean athlete effortlessly eating up the miles but I'm a whole lot closer than I used to be.

As you may already know I'm signed up to run the Miracle Beach 5K on October 20th and I hope you'll join me. Walkers are welcome as well, it's just getting out there that counts!

Here's a great video from Saucony to keep you motivated this week:

Happy Monday everyone, let's kill it!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday update

I have been running 5-6 days a week, just 5km so not crazy distances and I can't believe I'm going to say this's getting easier. Well actually....

The mental battle is getting easier. You know the one where your brain is telling you to stop, that you've had enough, or to walk because you can't breathe or your legs are on fire or any number of excuses that sound good at the time. That is the hardest part of running for me and I have to stop myself from thinking about how much farther I have to go. Instead I try to let my mind wander to other things going on in my life, or think about the plans for my future. This can be as simple as what I'm going to make for dinner that night or as complex as what do I want to be when I grow up. Anything to take my mind off of the's just me and music and thoughts.

And if you need something to get you out the door...check out this video and I dare you to stay sitting in your chair...

I've traded one sister for another (thank you Amanda...I'll get you next time Chantal!) to run the Miracle Beach 5K with me in just over two weeks and I'm so pumped about it. We can do it girl!

If you want to join us you can register here and we'll see you at the starting line! :)

And before I go, if you're looking for a skinny version of a hearty fall soup than check out this Baked Potato Soup recipe from Skinnytaste. It turned out so delicious (both kids gobbled it up), was very easy to make and took hardly any ingredients...a winner in my book.

I can't believe it's Friday already...enjoy the weekend!