Thursday, June 24, 2010

Handmade In the Bathroom

I love handmade soaps.  Well, to be honest, I love not only handmade soaps but also handmade lotions bath bombs, body scrubs... the list goes on.  And a great place to shop for these is on Etsy.
I have bought from KB Shimmer and absolutely adored all the goodies I received.  Check out these from her store:

Just a few of the pros of buying handmade bath products: 
Direct sales, straight from creator to buyer
Less packaging
A complete ingrediant list
Contact with the creator so all questions can easily be answered
Fabulous customer care
Shopping local to support local artisans
Handmade soaps contain glycerine
I think everybody should give handmade soap a try!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Introducing our Jack Rat!

I have been keeping a eye out for a small dog for my son, be it on the down-low... I have a lot of anti-pet people who think anybody is insane for adding responsibility on to a busy life via a non-human extra mouth.  But I really feel like our house was missing something since our yellow lab passed away last summer.  I mainly wanted to get a dog for my son, who I feel needs a little boost.  I think he sometimes feels a little neglected in the middle of his two sisters.  Well, a neighbor posted on her facebook account that she had Jack Rat puppies, they are a mix between Jack Russell Terriers and Rat Terriers.  So we received our new puppy, Ranger, on Sunday and I am tickled pink with this little guy!  Nights have been a little rough but so far, he has been a dream puppy.  So cute and energetic.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last day for Kohls 30% off

This is a great time to shop at Kohls, just use coupon code SAVEINJUNE to get 30% of your order.  Today is the last day for this coupon code.  Shipping is free if you spend $75 so make sure you spend that amount.  Kohls is so great about returns, you can just order things to try and if you don't like it, next time you head out to Kohls, you can always return it.  I also find that I can get toys at Kohls marked way down.  Don't forget to check their seasonal clearance.  They have the most awesome garden flags and they are priced anywhere between $2.99 and $5.99 at times, then take 30% off of that!  Now that is a bargain!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crafting is my obsession...

So when the diynetwork had a run of handmade/handcrafted shows on during the day time hours a couple of years ago, such as B. Original and Creative Juice, I was completely glued to the TV, just soaking it all in.  So, thanks to that and my love of Etsy and youtube videos and crafting web pages, my brain is bursting with snippets.  And the problem with my snippets, they never have the pertinent info that makes it possible for me to locate the information again, ugh!  Like the name of the artist, or even which show it was on.  I once saw an episode that was on book binding, it was filmed at the artist's studio and she made incredible books and I loved her technique.  I want to try something similar, and I think I remember enough of what I saw to make it work, but I would LOVE to see the video again, just to have her name to show off her books to all of you.  I have searched Google, HGTV and youtube but no luck.  Oh, if only I could get paid for the time I sspend searching for things on the internet.  It really is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, only the haystack is the size of Texas!

PS Did you know Cathie Filian has a shop on Etsy?  How cool is that?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shopping Like I Mean It!!

I am a huge on-line shopper and I am proud to admit it.  I find I save big bucks by utilizing all of the fabulous online tools.  I am a member of ebates.  I do get a $5 kickback for every individual I get to sign up, but those have been far and few between because I think a lot of people are very cautious about signing up for money related things on the internet.  I have read some sketchy things about ebates, there are some spyware programs supposedly associated with the site, but I still can't help but sing its praises.  I have gotten $388 in cash back since joining.  And I tend to order over the internet as opposed to going to the store in order to get the cash back and take advantage of on-line coupon codes that I would not get in the store. 
We purchased our Washer and Dryer from Home Depot and got $45.33 back through ebates.  That is cash that the average Joe going to the stroe would have never seen!!!

Sometimes the cash back isn't really worth mentioning, like today I shopped on-line at Kohls where the ebates cash back was only 2%.  But get this... I used the 30% off coupon code (no, I did not receive it in the mail, but shopping on line does not care if I do not have the paper in my hand, all I need is the code *wink*) and I used a Dockers 15% off code for 2 pairs of shorts for the hubby, they were originally $44, on sale for $21.99, yet with my 15% and 30%, I got them for $13.08 each!  And I forgot to mention FREE SHIPPING!  So why would I drive the hour to kohls?  I also saved the gas money too! 

Shopping on-line works!  I will talk soon about coupon codes!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ahh! Refreshing!

In my opinion, this is the perfect drink. 
First, an insulated stainless steel water bottle, check out this new Kleen Kanteen water bottle:

Then regular old tap water.  That's right, it is best to go for the tap when in need for water.  Avoiding bottled water and drinking from the tap means less plastic in our already overburdened landfills.  Check out this comparison of bottled and tap water to see why the tap is the better choice.
And then add my most favorite drink find:

I have been using the crystal light drink mixes even though I was not tickled pink by their ingrediants, but they have recently come out with this mix which has no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives... woohoo... I think people could hear me cheering throughout the grocery store.  True, the little packets are quite trashy ;) but all for all, I think this is a perfect trio: tap water, stainless steel water bottle and naturally sweetened drink mix.  Now that's worth a toast.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Drowning in chemical data

I feel like I have gone in circles for the last two hours trying to pin down my feelings about Parabens.  I know, I'm strange, spending all that time chasing facts, near facts, half-truths... but I was determined to make a conclusion that was backed by fact about these chemicals and post it on my blog. 
Here is some of what I have found:
From Wikipedia: Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.
From FDA: FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD&C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.
From Breast Cancer Fund: Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants. They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.
And through my research I was brought to the Cosmetic Ingrediant Review: Mission: The Cosmetic Ingredient Review thoroughly reviews and assesses the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics in an open, unbiased, and expert manner, and publishes the results in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.  And I found this report put together by them.  Here is an excerpt:

Toxicological Data

Chemical Disposition, Metabolism, and Toxicokinetics

Rabbits orally given butylparaben (0.4 or 0.8 g/kg [2 or 4 mmol/kg]) excreted 0.2-0.9% of the ester by 24 hours. Within the same period, 25-39% 4-HBA, 15-29% p-hydroxyhippuric acid, 5-8% p-carboxyphenyl glucuronide, 10-18% p-hydroxybenzoyl glucuronide, and 7-12% p-carboxyphenyl sulfate were recovered.

In dogs, intravenous (i.v.) injection of butylparaben (50 mg/kg [0.26 mmol/kg]) and oral administration of butylparaben (1000 mg/kg [5.148 mmol/kg]) resulted in a 48 and 40% recovery, respectively, of the administered dose in the urine as the 4-HBA conjugate of glucuronic acid within 30 hours. In a similar study in which dogs were given an i.v. injection of butylparaben (100 mg/kg [0.515 mmol/kg]), pure ester was recovered in the brain, spleen, and pancreas, and high concentrations of metabolites were detected in the liver and kidneys.

Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have been conducted reporting the permeability of butylparaben through skin. In these studies, butylparaben usually exhibited low penetration, retention in the epidermis, and/or hydrolysis in the skin.

And this report goes on to include chinese hamsters, rats, mice.... and suddenly I found myself majorly depressed... right back in my Gulf Oil Spill state of being.... 
And, on top of all of this, surfing these web sites, I found heaps of other things that I had no clue about and was reminded of others that I felt just as strongly about (like formaldehyde in baby shampoos... please buy castille hand made soap as an alternative).  And here is am again, feeling like an extremeist, standing on my soap box shouting the warnings and knowing that when you hit that point, people stop hearing and start shaking their heads about how sad that crazy person is.  But the point I want to make is that being aware is the most important part of all of this.  It does not mean you have to radically change your life, but it does mean you are armed to make decisions when shopping in this chemically laden world.

Oh, I almost forgot, please check out the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

So excited about a new craft idea! Just need supplies!

My etsy store has been closed for quite some time.  This mainly occured because of the renovation, and now that my life is coming back together, I have a really exciting new idea for a craft to sell but I am having some trouble finding the supplies I need.  The main thing I am looking for are hanging objects with a considerable amount of weight.  I am thinking of a variety to give the line of items a lot of diversity, but right now I would be happy to find where I could buy these glass faceted balls at hopefully a wholesale price.  Anybody have any thoughts?

Friday, June 4, 2010

My several thousand new children...

Yep, I am the proud mama of several thousand honeybees.
I have two hives that I keep on our property out in the country, about 12 miles outside of town.  I put the bees in their hives mid-April and it has been quite an adventure ever since.  Bees are amazing creatures and it has been fascinating to watch them build their combs and raise young, working to store nectar and pollen as they go.  The whole queen/worker/drone relationship is amazing to witness first hand.  Both of my original queens have been de-throned.  One of my hives is flourishing with a healthy laying queen, the other hive is in dire straights with no queen and a laying-worker, which means one of the worker bees has started laying eggs, which are unfertilized, meaning they will be drones.  It is all quite amazing and stressful also. 
Bees produce two amazing products: honey and beeswax.  Recently it has been brought into the spotlight that there are many dangers related to parabens.  Beeswax is a fabulous, safe alternative.  Local honey can help with allergies and it is an all natural sweetener just to name a few of it's fabulous qualites.  I will have more to come in the topic of my adventures in beekeeping.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sunscreens to try

The website thedailygreen has a fabulous list of sunscreens that are free of suspect ingredients.  I will be writing soon about another ingredient they mention in this article, but for the time being, check out their sunscreen list.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sunscreen Woes - Beware of the Oxybenzone!

So, being that the fam is now spending the majority of the day outside, sunscreen has stepped up into the spotlight and in the last week or so, I have heard some reports that made my head spin about a very common sunscreen ingrediant: Oxybenzone.
Check out this article on Planet Green.
Reading about the hormonal effects of this stuff is quite scary. Any chemical that is absorbed by the skin and can "possibly" cause hormone disruption should at least come with a warning. This chemical is found in many children's sunscreens so start reading the ingrediants.
Here is another article reported by the Environmental Working Group based on research by the CDC.
Here is what I have gathered about oxybenzone:
  • It is an anti-inflammatory which means as you burn, you do not realize you are burning until it is too late
  • linked to allergies
  • linked to hormone disruption
  • linked to cell damage
  • reports that it impacts the hormones of fish
  • low birth weight baby girls
Sources for this information are EWG, Super Eco and Planet Green