Month: October 2013

Honest Company Product Review (Part 1)

I’ve been using Honest Company products for about 3 months now, and I think it’s time for a review. The Honest Company (founded by actress Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan) sells natural diapers, personal care items, household products, and nutritional supplements. The Honest Co. promises that their products are free of sulfates, phosphates, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde (a popular conventional baby shampoo still uses formaldehyde in its products!!!), chlorine, and other toxins.

honest co review

A little background before the review — I have a 1-year-old, and keeping harsh chemicals out of my home is definitely a priority for me as a mom. The Honest Co has a lot of great baby products and that’s how I first became interested in the company.

I also have really sensitive skin, chronic mild eczema, and indoor allergies. A while ago my skin started itching unbearably, especially at night. I would lie awake for hours before finally taking a Benadryl and finally falling asleep. I decided to switch to completely natural personal products and ordered the Honest Co. shampoo/shower gel, healing balm, and a few other products.

This review is completely my own opinion. I was not compensated for writing this, and I am writing this review on my own initiative. However, if you decide to purchase some of these products after reading this review, I would love if you would do so through my invitation link to The Honest Co., as I will receive a discount on future purchases. Use discount code INVITED10 to get $10 off when you spend $25 or more..

Honest Company Invitation

How the Honest Co works is that you’re encouraged to sign up to be a member and have a subscription of their products mailed to you either monthly or bi-monthly. I ordered the Essentials bundle and I get 5 products of my choice for $35.95 a month. That makes the price of the products very reasonable; about the same as buying Method, Seventh Generation, and other “natural” products in stores. Of course, you have to be smart about the items you order too. If you order five $5 items, you won’t get as great a deal as if you order five $8 to $12 items, obviously.

You can buy their products separately from their website without a subscription or bundle, although it costs a little more.

Okay, now to the review!

Honest Co Sunscreen SPF30

Summer in Southern California means my 1-year-old is going through tube after tube of sunscreen, and “natural” baby sunscreen isn’t cheap! I was buying California Baby sunscreen for $20 a tube! The Honest Co mineral-based sunscreen was half the price and I LOVE IT. First of all, it is the only sunscreen I’ve seen that claims to be safe for babies under 6 months, because it uses completely natural ingredients (although check with your doctor).

Second, it goes on super smooth and is moisturizing, unlike other baby sunscreens that seem to dry out my daughter’s skin. It is a little shiny, but doesn’t leave the white cast that other mineral sunscreens do. I happily use it on my own skin (which is usually dry) for extra moisture and protection. I’m going to order a few more tubes for gifts and stocking stuffers this year!

Rating: 5/5

Honest Co Shampoo + Body Wash

I’ve only used a few “natural” shampoos before, and they’ve always frustrated me because they don’t foam as well as conventional shampoos and I don’t feel that they clean my hair as well. The Honest Co shampoo and body wash seems to hit a happy medium. It doesn’t foam as well as the chemical-laden shampoos, it’s true, but it does seem to be more concentrated and foams better than other natural shampoos (for example, it’s a lot thicker than Burts’ Bees baby shampoo…though I love Burts too). I find it helps if I rub it between my palms with a bit of water to foam it a bit first.

I love that the whole family can use this shampoo and body wash — it really cuts down on the bottles in the shower! I love the scent, and my scalp is no longer as itchy as when I was using regular (conventional) shampoo. Is my hair incredibly soft and silky? Well, not noticeably more than with other shampoos. But I’m not itchy, and I’ll take it. The shampoo has a nice orange cream scent.

Note: Costco sells Honest Co Shampoo in packs of two in a larger 17 fl oz size for about $14, which makes it the cheapest place to buy this shampoo.

Rating: 4/5

Honest Co Healing Balm

Oh the healing balm. I can no longer go without it. It’s the first thing I pack when we go out of town. Needless to say, I love it. It is super moisturizing so I put it on dry knees, elbows, and baby’s face when it’s irritated and dry. I use it as a diaper cream on my daughter to prevent and calm rashes. It calms itching and soothes my skin in the middle of the night. I even put it under my eyes as a super moisturizing eye cream.

It’s definitely an ointment though, so if you don’t like that sticky feeling it might not be for you. It does tend to sit on top of the skin more than a cream or lotion (although that’s good for me, as it’s more protective). The consistency is like petroleum jelly, without the petroleum =). It has a nice subtle botanical scent. It’s not a miracle cream — if you have severe eczema you’ll still need to talk with your doctor, but it’s perfect for dry, irritated skin.

Rating: 5/5

Honest Co Conditioning Mist

This spray leave-in conditioner works really well for detangling and leaves my hair nice and soft. But the bottle is really small! I don’t think I’ll order it again in my bundle since I feel like I can get better value with other products.

Rating: 3/5

Honest Co Bathroom Cleaner

I was pretty amazed at how well the Honest Co Bathroom cleaner cut through bathtub grime! I sprayed it on and five minutes later wiped it off without needing to scrub. It works wonders on mildewy grout too. I was honestly impressed at how effective this natural product works — it works as hard as non-natural products do!

The first ingredient is alcohol (after water), and the cleaner has a pretty strong alcohol smell. Although alcohol is “natural” and not as toxic as other cleansers, it’s still not something you want to leave out where kids can grab it, and you’ll want to wash your hands if you get some on there.

Rating: 5/5

Honest Co Oxy Boost

Eh, kind of meh. I can’t really see a huge difference in my laundry between using the Oxy boost pods or not using them. My whites don’t seem all that whiter. I do think that it helps to deodorize cloth diapers slightly, but nothing mind-blowing.

Rating: 3/5

There are still many more Honest Co. products I want to try, so this product review list isn’t quite complete yet. I have the laundry detergent but I want to finish my old one first (All Free and Clear). I also just ordered the baby toothpaste, the conditioner, and the moisturizing lotion.

Overall, I think the Honest Co. products are definitely worth the money. They are good quality and really reasonably priced compared to other “natural” products out there. I know the subscription format isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but since you have the option to get the bundle every 8 weeks, and there’s a lot of variety to choose from, I find that it works fine for me.

Again, if you are interested in purchasing Honest Co products, I would love if you would click through my link. I don’t get any cash, just a discount on future purchases from Honest Co., but every bit helps! Use code INVITED10 to get $10 off $25.

Honest Company Invitation

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Honest Company Product Reviews!

Navy Entranceway

The foyer in our house hardly merits the name — it’s just a little box between the hallway and the living room, but I’m grateful to have it! It’s really handy to have a little landing pad area for shoes, keys, and mail before you enter the house proper.

We did this little update a few weeks ago:

navy blue foyer

We painted a navy blue accent wall that you see right as you come in.

The foyer area used to look like this:

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It was kind of a milky mocha color. The paint really wasn’t in the best shape (you can see the weird blotches) and just wasn’t really me. Also, I definitely prefer cooler blues, greens, and grays, rather than browns. Maybe it’s the Pisces in me, haha!

foyer console table

The paint color is Behr’s China Pattern, which isn’t strictly a navy, since it definitely reads blue ALWAYS, never black. But I tried a darker navy and it was too dark, so this one ended up winning out.

We’ve had the console table for a few months. It’s the Tao Foyer Table from World Market, which is unfortunately being discontinued. We snapped it up on clearance. It’s a very small and slim console table, so it is perfect for our tight foyer space.

The antique mirror is something we picked up over a year ago. I pumped up the gold finish with some gold leaf paint.

navy and gold foyer

I didn’t style the table to make it look perfect so you can see the tray that catches my mail, sunglasses, chapstick, and keys! Also, I guess I didn’t close the drawer all the way =p. Just keepin’ it real, peeps.

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We got this flush mount light from IKEA for the foyer. I removed the white plastic base and spray painted it gold. I think it gives the area a little more glamour.

navy blue foyer

I love dark blue and gold together, don’t you?

Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee, DomesticallySpeaking, StartatHome

Stuffed Delicata Squash with Apples and Sausage

title stuffed delicata squash

I really don’t post recipes that often here — not because I don’t love cooking and want to share, but mostly because of time constraints. 5:00-6:00 pm in our household is a busy time. The toddler is hungry and tired, I’m trying to get dinner on the table, and Chris is running around trying to do some maintenance on the house/yard before the sun goes down. By the time my simple meal is on the table, it’s dark out (it gets dark at 6:45 these days) and there’s just no light to photograph before we eat!

So you know when I put a recipe on there it’s good! It’s usually something new I’ve tried that I like so much it’s going into the regular rotation. Last time, that was delicious poke salad with raw salmon and avocado. This time, I’m getting into the harvest theme with delicata squash stuffed with sausage and apples. I kind of figured, pork+apples = good. Pork+apples+stuffed in something = even better!

Delicata squash is, as its name suggests, more delicate than other winter squashes, and because it’s a bit more perishable, it’s not in season that long. So snap it up when you see it! I find the flavor to be quite similar to acorn squash. The skin becomes soft when cooked so you can eat it if you like.

paleo stuffed delicata squash

This recipe is gluten-free and paleo-friendly. If you don’t mind grains, you can of course use panko instead of coconut for the topping.

Stuffed Delicata Squash with Apples and Sausage

2 delicata squash
1 package sweet Italian sausage (5 links)
1 medium gala apple
2 ribs celery
1 small-medium onion
3-4 tablespoons unsweetened dry coconut
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
olive oil

Prick the whole squash all over with a sharp knife. Put them, whole, into the microwave and nuke them on high for 6 minutes, or until they are tender enough to slice easily in half with a knife.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Meanwhile, dice the onion, celery, and apple. Remove the sausage from its casings.

Saute the onion and celery for 3-4 minutes in some olive oil until softened. Stir in the apple and saute for another 3 minutes. Add the sausage and saute until sausage is browned and cooked through. Add a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the microwaved squash in halves and scoop out the strings and seeds. Pack each half full of the sausage filling and sprinkle dried coconut over each squash half. Bake for 20 minutes until coconut is browned and filling is sizzling.

Serves 4.

 

Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee

Spraypainted $1 Candleholders

gold owls

On Tuesday I went to Target…one of my favorite activities. Our local outdoor mall has a Target attached and I go there probably 2x a week with Baby Brownie because it’s a great place to walk with the stroller as well as get milk, cereal, necessities, etc… There’s a little outdoor playground right outside Target which makes for a nice break with the toddler.

Anyway, I ALWAYS look in the dollar bins at Target to see what goodies they have. This week I wasn’t disappointed as I found these cute little metal candleholders.

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I grabbed the owls but they also had turkeys and jack-0-lanterns. I thought the owls were the cutest though, and they’re more all-season. I don’t like buying a lot of seasonal decorations because our 1970s home just doesn’t have that much storage! And I feel like seasonal stuff can cross over the line into tackiness pretty easily. So I just try to get stuff that’s appropriate around the year.

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I just sprayed these $1 candle holders with Valspar gold spray paint. I still had most of a can left over from another project, so for 2 candle holders this little project just cost me $2!

They were all right before, but now they’re really cute!

gold owls

I actually kind of messed these up because it started raining while I was spraying them and a few raindrops got on the paint before I was able to bring them inside. It hasn’t rained in 9 months but of course, there’s a downpour on the day I’m spraypainting outside (Southern California, boo hoo, haha). But I was glad that the plants got some watering though, and with the brush fires recently we really need rain.

Anyway the raindrops weren’t really noticeable on the gold paint. I thought the owls were cute before but they look much more expensive now and the gold acts as a neutral, so they go with anything! I have them on my dining table along with my pumpkin centerpiece and my mercury glass candle holders. These would be super cute little gifts too.

WARNING: I was reading about the flammability of spray paint. The wet paint is VERY flammable but when it is dry, it is just like any other painted surface. So wait until the paint is dry and cured (48 hours) before using the candle holder, and as always, NEVER leave a candle burning unattended.

Linking up at Place of my Taste, Remodelaholic and Savvy Southern Style

The Best Cheap Kids’ Chairs

A wonderful surprise was waiting for us this afternoon when we got home from running errands! The two child-size chairs I ordered have arrived! Baby Brownie and I were both so excited to try them out.

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They are the Flash Forward Plastic School Chair from Amazon and they were just $10 each! I know, crazy affordable, and we LURRRVE them!

I had been looking for children’s chairs for a while but my search got serious when I turned our old bench into a child’s activity table for Baby Brownie. After I painted the bench, I was trying to find some affordable and colorful chairs so she could sit at her table.

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I knew that I wanted chairs with angled legs so that it would be harder for Baby Brownie to tip over backwards. Most of the options at IKEA were affordable but had straight legs. I had seen some chairs with angled legs online on educational material websites but they tended to be quite expensive and aimed at the school market. Finally I found these little chairs on Amazon! Guess I should have looked there in the first place!

The reviews were excellent and the price was right so I placed my order right away.

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I couldn’t be happier with these little chairs. I should warn you though, the description on Amazon says these are red, but they are really a hot pink/coral. This color was actually a pleasant surprise for us and go so well with the duck egg blue on the table, but just so you know, the pic online ain’t really accurate.

 

flash forward chair

 

Flash Forward Plastic School Chair

The chair is definitely more on the pink/coral side than red/orange as it appears above.

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They are a really saturated coral color. Really fun!

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It’s still a little tall for Baby Brownie (we got the 10.5″ version) but she can get on and off without much difficulty. And the chairs are really sturdy! Not flimsy at all. I can sit on them myself without the legs flexing at all.

She was very pleased to have her own child-sized chairs and she has been playing with her tea set, reading books, and playing with her puzzles while sitting on the chairs =).

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I can envision many tea parties to come at this table.

At just $10 each, I’m a satisfied mama!

Note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, which means I get paid a small amount (just a few cents really) if you buy the chair by clicking through my link.

Sharing at TatertotsandJello

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