Shaklee Basic H2 giveaway

A year and a half ago, I did a review of Shaklee’s Basic H2 cleaner. I liked the product when I first tested it then and I continue to like (and use) the product now. Here’s what I had to say:

I really like the Basic H2 Cleaner. It worked well both in my bathrooms and kitchen, and even helped me get a handle on my shamefully dirty well-used oven. The cleaner is unscented, which is nice for people who don’t do well with scented cleaners, and is, of course, nontoxic and biodegradable.

The fact that this little 16 oz. bottle can make 48 gallons of all-purpose cleaner (when you add your own water) is a big selling point for me, and it only costs $12.15.

Some Basic H2 stats:
  • organic, nontoxic, super-concentrated, natural, no phosphates  (cheaper than vinegar and water mixtures)
  • over 1000 uses (counters, countertops (sealed granite and marble, too), windows, mirrors, appliances (great for stainless steel), sealed woodwork, barbecue grill, oil on driveway…)
  • Basic H2 can be mixed up into three formulations (window cleaner (less than 1cent/16 oz. bottle), all-purpose cleaner (3cents/16 oz. bottle), degreaser (17cents/16 oz. bottle)
  • if you mix the entire bottle up as a window cleaner, it is the equivalent of 5,824 26 oz. bottles of Windex
  • no-rinse, no-residue, streak-free formula

Since I’m such a big fan of Shaklee and thanks to Shaklee distributor Becky Rapinchuk (Clean Mama), three of you are going to receive a sample bottle of Basic H2 cleaner and a spray bottle!

Win It!

To be entered to win ONE of THREE sample bottles of Shaklee Basic H2 (and a spray bottle), all you need to do is:

  • Visit Shaklee and leave me a comment telling me which product you’d most like to try – aside from the Basic H2.
  • To receive a second entry, tweet this giveaway on Twitter (using @crunchygoddess in your tweet) and leave another comment letting me know that you tweeted it. Here’s a sample tweet: I just entered to win a sample bottle of Shaklee Basic H2 cleaner from @crunchygoddess’s blog. Check it out. http://bit.ly/2DwMJq #green

The deadline to enter is Friday, Oct. 30. Winners will be selected using Random.org on Saturday, Oct. 31 and notified via email, so please be sure to include a valid email address. Thanks and good luck!

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Maclaren Beginning – a product review

As many of you know, I’m very choosy about the personal care products I will use on my children. I’m kind of selective about what I will use on myself too, but the truth is I’m much more discriminating when it comes to my kids. That’s just how mothering goes, is it not? ;)

I recently was given some new holistic personal care products from the Maclaren Beginning line to review and I have to say I was quite pleased with them.

First of all, they use natural and organic ingredients and 100% pure essential oils. All essential oils and exotic butters are sourced through fully sustainable, traceable partnerships. They do NOT use synthetic perfumes, artificial colors, petroleum derivatives, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), parabens, TEA (Triethanolamine), DEA (diethanolamine) or animal ingredients. Maclaren is also against animal testing. The products are dematologically tested on sensitive skin (which I feel is important for products that are designed for pregnant women and babies). I feel the need to add the disclaimer here that no, I am NOT pregnant, I’m just testing some products that are intended for pregnant women. ;)

Because it is a new product line, it is not yet available in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, although I suspect based on the ingredients that the products would score well.

The Maclaren Beginning product line includes personal care products for both mother and baby. Some of the products I (and/or my kids) tested include: For Mother – the Connecting Massage Oil, and For Baby – Comforting Room Mist, Absorbing Dusting Powder, Soothing Delicate Soap and the Protecting Nappy (Diaper) Change Balm. All of the products contain essential oils. Normally I’m not a big fan of scented products, but these scents are very subtle and calming, not at all like the synthetic fragrances other products on the market have.

The Connecting Massage Oil for Mother with organic orange, lavender and Neroli essential oils is seriously just dreamy. It smells wonderful, feels great rubbed into your skin and doesn’t leave you feeling oily. When I was pregnant I enjoyed rubbing my belly as a way of connecting with my babies. It would have been great to have this massage oil for all of those belly rubs (and back and foot rubs by your partner would feel wonderful with this too). It’s a bit pricey at $24 a bottle, but would make a great gift to a newly pregnant woman.

The Maclaren baby products I received all met with my approval and all seem reasonably priced. I tried the Soothing Delicate Soap with my kiddos (ages 5 and 2) in the bath tonight and I liked that it lathered well even though it doesn’t contain SLS.

The Absorbing Dusting Powder would have been great for my kids when they were roly-poly babies. They both had lots of lovely baby fat rolls which meant lots of creases to get sweaty and irritated and I think this product could have helped with that.

The Protecting Nappy Change Balm with organic lavender, German chamomile, Shea butter and aloe is not very thick so I am not sure how effective it would be as a barrier cream, but I did apply some to my son’s diaper area and was pleased it did not cause any irritation to him like some creams we have tried in the past have.

The only product I received that I am a bit skeptical about is the Comforting Room Mist. The directions say, “Gently pump 2 or 3 burst of the aromatherapy mist into the air. Use at home when baby is resting and safe. When away from home, use to comfort the baby, creating a sense of familiarity and a connection to the safety of home.” I just don’t see a real need for this product. I always used breastfeeding and holding my baby to create a sense of familiarity and safety. I suppose though if a mother had to be away from her baby, this spray might be useful then.

Overall I really like the Maclaren Beginning line and think it would make a great gift to an expecting mother. Oh, and did I mention the packaging is recyclable? The packaging is made from raw, uncoated, recyclable Kraft material, with uncoated paper labels made from recycled paper. This crunchy mama is all over that!

Interested in winning some Maclaren Beginning products? Head on over to Today’s Mama to enter to win.

Don’t miss a single CDG post, subscribe to my blog. And don’t forget to join the Ditch The Disposables Challenge if you haven’t yet. I will be giving away some things to help you with the challenge in the next few days!

The big SIGG BPA letdown

Water bottle manufacturer SIGG has found themselves in the hot seat recently after they revealed that their bottles, which many environmentally-aware, health-conscious consumers and parents fell in love with, have actually contained bisphenol-A (BPA) all along. SIGG claims they never said their bottles were BPA-free, but only that they “did not leach BPA.”

Z Recommends was one of the first blogs to break the story with their very thorough and informative post:

“Swiss sports and children’s bottle maker SIGG has admitted what many consumer advocates have suspected for years, but never proven: That the epoxy lining used for years in SIGG bottles – which they secretly swapped out for a new liner last summer – contained the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A.”

How do you know if your SIGG bottle contains BPA? According to SIGG, “all SIGG bottles made since August 2008 contain our new BPA free EcoCare liner. SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008 have the former water-based epoxy liner which contains trace amounts of BPA. These bottles have been thoroughly tested and showed 0% leaching of BPA.

The photo and information below (from SIGG) should help you determine which liner you have.

New SIGG EcoCare Liner Former SIGG Liner
* Dull pale yellow coating*Special powder-based co-polyester liner certified to be 100% BPA and Phthalate Free*Utilized in the manufacturing of SIGG bottles since August 2008 * Shiny copper bronze finish*Proprietary water-based epoxy liner thoroughly tested and showed absolutely no leaching of BPA*Found in SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008

EcoCare Liner:

Former Liner:

In case you didn’t just do the math, SIGG is saying they have been manufacturing bottles with the new liners since August 2008. But wait, what year is it now? Oh yeah, 2009. Which means they’ve been sitting on this information for an entire year. Ouch.

Lynn from Babble discusses the problems with bisphenol-A in her post BPA: How Bad Is It? Get ready to clean out your cabinets.

It is a type of compound called an endocrine disruptor, which means it mimics or alters the effects of a particular hormone — in this case estrogen — in your body, throwing everything out of whack. It is bad for you, and your pregnancy, and your kids, and it is, almost literally, everywhere: in baby feeding items, water bottles, soda and soup cans, PVC pipes, carbon-paper-style sales receipts, dental fixtures, the water supply, even in the goddamn air. (And probably in your body: the CDC has detected BPA in 93 percent of people 6 years old and up.)

… BPA is thought to cause disorders of the neurological, cardiac, immune, and reproductive systems, with adults, children, and developing fetuses all exposed and at risk.

To say that people are upset about SIGG’s admission would be an understatement.

Alison from Green Me feels deceived and wrote an open letter to SIGG expressing her outrage.

While pregnant I drank from my SIGG bottle 4 days per week as I had a long commute to a college campus where I did not have easy access to water. When my son was born I breastfed him and carried my SIGG bottle around with me to have water on walks and at the store. Last year, when my son turned one we got him a big boy SIGG water bottle. I would not have made any of these purchases had I known your products were lined with BPA.

I am outraged…

Cool Mom Picks feels disheartened at the news. “It’s disheartening to support a brand like SIGG for making safer, BPA-free drinking bottles for kids and adults when it turns out that nope, that wasn’t the situation at all. Or as the old saying goes, ‘we was played.'”

Miriam from Tripletly Blessed said she will take the replacement bottles from SIGG and donate them because “I have no intention of supporting a company that would blatantly mislead their consumer base.” She also plans to tell others of SIGG’s betrayal. “Yes, SIGG technically did nothing wrong. They never stated that their bottles were BPA-free. However, the manner in which they marketed themselves left many people with that impression. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t see that there is really a case here, though some are suggesting it. What I am, though, is a mom and a blabbermouth. Would you like to guess what I’ll be talking about for the next few weeks and whenever I see someone with a SIGG bottle?”

Kellie from GreenHab: The Browns Go Green is feeling disappointed. “I’m feeling kind of like I did when I found out that John Edwards cheated on his wife. It isn’t the worst thing to ever happen in this world, but I still feel really disappointed because I thought SIGG to be a genuinely green company. They say ‘never trust a politician.’ I guess we shouldn’t trust companies that claim to sell green products either.”

Despite all of this, Sonja from Girl with Greencard says she will continue to use her SIGG from the early 90s. She said she has two old SIGGs, and she’s going to keep using both of them. Why? Because “test shows BPA doesn’t leak and SIGGs are pricey and I don’t use mine on a daily basis.” She said she also has no qualms about letting her 1-year-old son drink from her old SIGG bottles either.

Jeremiah from Z Recommends said:

Whether or not you are comfortable using a bottle that contains but does not leach BPA, for us the real story here is how a company using BPA that would have been absolutely sidelined by consumers seeking BPA-free alternatives managed to make itself a central player by carefully controlling information about its products, challenging consumer advocacy organizations when they made statements that were unproven but that the company knew to be true, and “coming clean” only when it suited its own purposes.

Alicia at The Soft Landing believes it’s an issue of proprietary versus transparency. She said, “It’s not about the ‘mere presence of BPA’ or that their studies didn’t show any leaching – it’s about the principle of trust. We as parents, consumers and advocates should demand transparency from companies who build their entire foundation on being healthy and green.”

While SIGG encourages dissatisfied customers to contact their customer service department (liners@mysigg.com) to trade in their old SIGG bottles for ones made with the BPA-free EcoCare liner, many bloggers would rather find more transparent companies to support. In case you are concerned about what will happen to the bottles that are turned in to SIGG, CEO Steve Wasik assured Lisa from Retro Housewife Goes Green that “All ‘retired’ SIGG bottles that we receive are always sent to recycling.”

Lisa from Condo Blues suggests four BPA-free water bottle alternatives.

Over at Mamanista, Candace recommends Stainless Steel BPA-free water bottles.

I also wrote a post earlier this year about several different reusable water bottles.

Lastly, Z Recommends has some additional information about possible problems with the new BPA-free SIGG liners that you should take a look at before you email to get your replacement bottle. Unfortunately, this information might turn off even more consumers.

What are your thoughts? Are you surprised? Upset? Fine with all of it? Will you trade in your old SIGG bottle for a new one or will you seek out an alternative?

I have to say the only reason I’m not fuming mad is that we never splurged to buy SIGG bottles until a few months ago when my husband Jody got one for Ava and one for himself. Thankfully, they both have the new liners. While I had been thinking about getting my own SIGG bottle in the near future, after learning all of this, I’ll stick with my BPA-free Camelbak for now, thankyouverymuch.

Related posts:
SIGG Controversy: Older SIGG Bottles Have Bisphenol A (BPA)
SIGG Bottles and BPA
Really? SIGG bottles contain BPA

Cross-posted on BlogHer

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Fill ‘er up: Reusable water bottles

According to Wikipedia, Americans buy about 28 billion water bottles a year. 28 BILLION WATER BOTTLES! Does that number freak anybody else out just a little? What’s also alarming is that 80 percent of bottles end up in landfills. It all seems like such a waste (literally) when there’s an easy, cost-effective, and eco-friendly alternative available – refillable/reusable water bottles. These days, when living “green” and being “eco-friendly” are all the rage, there is certainly no shortage of refillable water bottles on the market to choose from.

Water bottlesThere are a lot of things to consider when selecting a reusable water bottle. Do you want plastic, aluminum, stainless steel or even glass? If you choose plastic, is it BPA-(Bisphenol A)free? Do you prefer a biter valve or a straw or neither? Is the bottle spill-proof? Does it fit in a cup holder? Is it dishwasher-safe? How much does it cost?

This week I’m going to take a look at a few of the adult water bottles on the market. In a couple weeks, I’ll be tackling water bottles for kids.

Despite that it’s made of plastic, my personal favorite water bottle is the Camelbak BPA-free Better Bottle with a bite valve. My husband, our two kids and I each have one of these bottles (each a different color) and they go with us just about everywhere – out to eat, on walks, anytime we go anywhere in the car, to parties, etc. Seriously, ask my friends, I have it with me everywhere I go. I heart my Camelbak.

Everyone has their thoughts on what makes a water bottle right for them. Melissa at Nature Deva recently wrote about her Quest for the “Perfect” Water Bottle and put together a list of criteria the “perfect” water bottle should meet:

  • BPA-free
  • Double-walled stainless steel
  • Straw top
  • Cover for straw
  • Non-leaking
  • Attractive
  • Fit in my car’s cup holder
  • Hold more than 2 cups of water
  • Reasonably Priced

Melissa was recently able to find a bottle that met everything on her list and has declared the (drum roll please) Intak Steel Hydration Bottle by Thermos to be the “perfect” water bottle.

Tiffany at Nature Moms Blog is also a big fan of Thermos and their the Intak Water Bottle. Tiffany says, “I have always had a favorite water bottle and his name is Mr. Klean Kanteen. But step aside Klean because you may have been replaced. Okay maybe not replaced, but you will now have to share your coveted position in my cupboard. Make room for the sleek and ingenious Intak by Thermos.”

In her post Reusable Bottles: BPA-Free for Everyone, Tiffany reviews bottles by Thermos, Klean Kanteen, SIGG, Camelbak and Nalgene.

Over at Eat Play Love in her post Plastic Water Bottle Alternatives, Denise explains what the different types of plastic are and which to avoid, how to wash your plastic water bottles, and reveals her favorite water bottle – hint, it’s not plastic at all.

Jessica who writes at Shine lists 5 eco-friendly water bottles to reuse, rehydrate, refill. Making the grade are a $22 aluminum Sigg bottle, a $20 Sigg flask, the $10 Camelbak Better Bottle, a $30 Klean Kanteen, and a free (or nearly free depending on where you get it) glass jar with a lid.

Another stainless steel bottle not previously mentioned is the Think Sport water bottle, reviewed over at The Soft Landing.

If you haven’t taken the plunge into using a refillable water bottle yet due to concern about the safety of your tap water, check out the post Green Resolution: Info about Tap Water from the OC Family.

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every brand of bottled water they tested. Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing. In addition, there is increasing evidence of adverse health effects tied to Bisphenol A, or BPA, a widely used chemical in the manufacturing of plastic polycarbonate bottles, including water bottles.

There you have it. Lots of different water bottles with lots of different options. So tell me, what’s your favorite or if you’re still buying disposable water bottles, are you considering switching to a reusable?

Related posts:

Cross-posted on BlogHer

Photo credit: Eat Play Love

Organic skin care & cosmetics from Miessence – review & giveaway

Note: Giveaway is now closed to new entries.

When I was first introduced to the Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database, I was reluctant to do a search for the products I was currently using. I had a feeling the results would be bad news and, while I’m not usually one to turn a blind eye, I just didn’t want to think about it right then. Eventually, however, I came around, especially when my daughter Ava wanted to start playing with my makeup too. If I wasn’t going to be concerned about the safety of my cosmetics for my own health, I was going to be for the sake of my daughter.

As I looked up my products, I was disappointed, though not surprised to see several fell into the “moderate hazard” category, and a couple (like my mascara) fell into the “high hazard” category. Although I wasn’t letting Ava experiment with mascara, it still made me feel icky to think of the toxins I was applying to my eyelashes on a regular basis.

When Erin Ely from Ely Organics, distributor for Miessence Certified Organic products, asked if I wanted to try out some samples, I was more than excited.

Jaffa lip balmFirst of all, I love that Miessence products are certified organic and are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many of the ingredients sound like things you could eat. Like the Jaffa Lip Balm (which goes on soooo smooth and you’ll have a chance to win below), contains things like sunflower and avocado oils, fruit butter and rosemary leaf extract. With ingredients like these, it makes you feel like it’s more than OK to lick your lips!

I also tried the Mascara and was no longer using a product that scored in the “high hazard” category, but in the “low hazard” category. That made me feel a lot better about applying mascara. In fact, all of the Miessence products score in the low hazard category on Skin Deep!

Some of my personal favorites were the Moisturizer and the Balancing Skin Care Set (which you will have a chance to win below). And although I didn’t get a chance to try them, I also like that they have a full line of Baby Care products.

Overall I am very pleased with Miessence products. They are skin care products and cosmetics you can feel safe and good about using, even when your 3- or 4-year-old wants to try them out! :)

WIN IT!

shampooSkin careYou can win a “Miessence Sample Kit” from Ely Organics which will include:

Retail Value is: $65

All you need to do to for a chance to win is leave a comment below letting me know which Miessence product you would like to try. You aren’t required to post about it or Twitter it, but if you do either, I’d be most appreciative. :) (Be sure you to let me know in the comments if you do either post or Tweet it so I can be sure and send you a pony, or at least a virtual hug.) The deadline to enter is midnight Sunday, Oct. 19. The winner will be selected using Random.org and contacted via email on Oct. 20. Please make sure you include a valid e-mail address. Thanks and good luck!

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Nature’s Avenger organic weed killer (review & giveaway)

UPDATE: This giveaway has concluded and is closed to new entries. 

Every spring I have the best of intentions of keeping my yard and patio well-weeded. And every spring I do my best to keep up with the little suckers, but because I can’t make weeding my full-time job (after all I do have two kiddos to watch after and a little thing called a blog to tend to), the weeds eventually declare victory and I hang my head in defeat.

This spring, however, I decided to get a headstart and try my hand at creating a natural weed killer. With two little kids and two dogs, I don’t do petro chemicals in my yard, so making something as non-toxic as possible was a requirement. I played mad scientist and concocted a mixture of vinegar, hot water and dish soap, sprayed it on the little buggers and waited. While it worked to some degree (they shriveled a bit), it was not the miracle herbicide I was hoping for.

spraypic.jpgThankfully, right about that time, I was contacted to review an organic weed killer called Nature’s Avenger. I was more than happy to give it a try. Nature’s Avenger is made with natural citrus oil which gives it a very pleasant scent, is EPA-certified, safe around children and pets, and, I’m pleased to report, it gets the job done! I tried it on a few rogue weeds in my yard and it killed them and quickly too (within a couple hours). While I wouldn’t use it all of the time (it’s still fun to get my hands dirty now and then), it is nice to have an organic weed-killing alternative for those occasions I don’t have hours to spend weeding the yard.

Find a store near you that sells Nature’s Avenger or you can buy it online.

WIN IT!
If you’d like to try to win a bottle of Nature’s Avenger, just leave a comment here AND link to this post on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, that’s OK. You can still enter to win. The deadline to enter is Friday, June 27. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and notified via email the following day. Please make sure you include a valid email address.

If you are looking for another eco-friendly giveaway, head over to A Mama’s Blog for a Let’s Go Green giveaway.