Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday - Bathrooms

I currently sitting amid piles of moving boxes and general messiness. I'm still gonna keep up with my new basic lists.

I know I need to work on my photography skills, but you get the basic idea. Here are my cleaning goals for the day.

Now must get away from the computer and get some check marks on these.


I don't really know how to say this, so I'll just go ahead and put it this way: the whole "going green" thing ain't workin out. It's just not me. While I do like the idea of living more sustainably, going completely green isn't the way I'm going to be going about it. I'll try for a little explanation on what happened..

This year was pretty traumatic to say the least. My dad was diagnosed with liver cancer and given weeks to live and my mom had a minor heart attack. During this time I had an epiphany. I did lots of research because we were so frustrated with the way the doctors handled the situations. It was nothing out of the ordinary in the medical profession really, I suppose it was just because it was my parents that I took note.

My dad's doctor basically walked in and told him (on my birthday) that he had liver cancer and should get his affairs in order. My mom's doctor did a procedure (stints) and sent her home with a standard pamphlet on how to live from now on. Really?

So I started my own research on natural cancer cures and what to do after a heart attack. I went pretty deep. So far in fact that I determined that we were going to start eating all natural, healthy, meatless, vegan even. I also learned a lot about all the dangerous chemicals that are in our everyday products such as cleaning products, laundry detergent, even bath soaps.

I got really excited, everyone was gonna change everything. I looked up new ingredients and found recipes for natural cleaning products, shampoos, soaps, everything. Then, to my complete and utter shock, nobody else was interested. I visited my parents to find my mom frying pork chops and my dad eating endless bowls of reese's cups. I was rather confused. Why wasn't everyone as excited about this as I was?

Slowly I began to lose interest too. Although I've learned alot and still have an awareness of what we're eating and using to clean, I've realized that I want to eat steaks every now and again and I want my Dawn dishwashing liquid. I will continue to look for ways to live a better life, but not at the expense of my own sanity. It really was beginning to drive me crazy.

My dad passed away on December 3, 2012. I have to admit that until the very end, I thought he was gonna pull through even though every sign pointed against it. My mom, who had moved in to take care of him, has since moved into my place and I am now living at my dad's house. I still have a lot to "process". For now, I'm going to concentrate on what I know and who I am rather than trying to be something that I am not. Life is too short for that.

So, who am I?

Part of who I am is a stay at home wife and mom. My husband works out of town (painting and construction type work) so its just me and the kids the majority of the time. We live paycheck to paycheck and have for awhile. We live in a two bedroom mobile home in a very small town in middle Tennessee. I have three girls, one of whom chose to live with her dad. They are 15, 6, and 2 years old so I get a little bit of everything. I also have an 8 year old stepson that we don't get to see very much.

My husband and I are complete and total opposites with not much in common, but I love him all the same. We got married on the 4th of July in 2009 at my sister's house.

My 15 year old, Marion, is a captain on the color guard and is a sophomore in high school. Madilyn is 6 and is a peewee cheerleader (she was homecoming princess this year :), Mya is my 2 year old, she will be three in January and is still not potty trained and takes a bottle before bed. We are working on both of those issues but I would also like to add that she is super smart, if I do say so myself, and a fabulous dancer.

I have a kitten, who has yet to be named, and a dog named Pipes that I just inherited from my dad. I think he misses him as much or more than we do.

My car is a clunker, the reverse doesn't work, the driver side window won't roll down, the windows leak and it needs new brakes. I can't remember what kind it is off the top of my head, but its red. (I think its a Pontiac)

I have a big sister who is also a fellow blogger at Down South Savings. She is much more committed to blogging than I have been, hope you'll check out her blog. She has 4 kids, all about a year apart, the oldest is 15. She has 4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 hamsters, fish, frogs, horses, goats, chickens, and a husband and yet she manages to have an active blog.

I still smoke. I've tried quitting and have been unsuccessful so far.

I've gained about 15 pounds this past year (that's an estimate, I rarely weigh myself). I don't obsess over my weight but when I notice weight gain I do try to get some exercise in. On my "green" journey I discovered yoga was a pretty good fit for me and intend to work more into my schedule.

As for the other "parts" of who I am, I could go into the philosophical answer (which I intend to do here - My Journey to Spirituality) - yes I know there is nothing there, seems I'm a bit of a procrastinator.

Things that I like are entering sweepstakes and giveaways which I do more of here - Playing for Sweeps, or at least I will once I get myself back on track.

I also like organizing and am working on an updated version of my household notebook which I will be posting soon. I like gardening, I'm definitely an amateur but I enjoy doing it. I like decorating and DIY projects and will be focusing more on that in upcoming posts. I'm also very frugal (not always by choice) and I hope I'll be able to share some ideas on that here as well. You will be seeing some changes and reconstruction going on around here, all for the better (at least that's the goal).

Some of you may be asking if I feel like I've failed. My answer is a simple No. I feel many things right now and failure is not among them. One of the things that I do feel is relief after having written this post. I feel like some pressure has been taken off and it is a good feeling.

I thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Holidays 2012 Giveaway Hop

Happy Holidays Button

Welcome to the Happy Holidays Giveaway Hop hosted by Mom to Bed by 8 and Life With Two Boys!

The holidays will be before you know it so to make things a little easier on you and your wallet we decided to give you an opportunity to WIN your gifts this year! Several awesome blogs have to come together to bring you some amazing prizes that will look great sitting under your tree Christmas morning. After you enter our giveaway make sure you hop around to the rest of the participating blogs for more chances to win!

My Journey to Living Well has partnered with Gaiam to bring you Rodney Yee's Core Centered Yoga DVD along with a Yoga Essentials Block Giveaway! 


Click here to read my full review and enter to win on the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Along with all of the individual prizes we also have TONS of awesome Grand Prizes for everyone on your list including Baby, Kids (boys and girls), Teens, and Adults. The Grand Prizes include a Babyhome Emotion Stroller, Little Tikes Classic Castle, Pillow Pets Dream Lites, Pillow Racers, Furby, $50 The Children's Place Gift Card, Nokia Lumia 900, and a Keurig Elite Brewing System!

Disclaimer: Please note that the Happy Holidays Giveaway Hop hosts and participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prize. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation that they will fulfill their prize in a timely manner. While we are not responsible, we will make every effort to assist the winner in obtaining their prize.

Gaiam Rodney Yee's Core CenteredYoga DVD Review

Gaiam's Rodney Yee's Core CenteredYoga DVD Review

Rodney Yee's Core Centered Yoga is all about balance. Being a beginner at yoga, that is exactly what I needed. I stretched muscles I didn't know that I had using this DVD, I mean honestly, who knew there were so many ways to turn your legs? 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Giving Green 2012 Giveaway Hop

Giving Green Hop Button

Welcome to the Giving Green 2012 Giveaway Hop! A great group of bloggers have gotten together to give you many chances to win GREEN gifts for holidays. Giving green for the holidays says "I love you" in more ways than one! You'll find a linky at the bottom of this post to enter all the giveaways and enter to win the Grand Prize which is valued at over $350! The more giveaways you enter, the more entries you can earn toward the Grand Prize.

Gaiam DVD and Water Bottle

My Journey to Living Well is proud to have teamed up with Gaiam to offer you a way to both give green and help with those inevitable New Year's resolutions. We will be giving away Maya Fiennes' Yoga for Real Life DVD and a Taos Stainless Steel Water Bottle.

Please click here to read my full review of these awesome products then enter to win on the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway will run from 11/12/12 to 11/27/12.

Gaiam Maya Fiennes' Yoga for Real Life Review

Maya Fiennes' Yoga for Real Life from Gaiam icon


I have heard for quite awhile about the positive effects that yoga can have your life and health. Recently, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to experience it first hand when I received the Maya Fiennes' Yoga for Real Life DVD from Gaiam icon:
Maya Fiennes combines her talents as a successful classical pianist and performer with her upbeat personality to create a unique style of Kundalini yoga for modern living. In this 60-minute practice, she takes you through a series of exercises to stimulate the powerful centers in the body, the chakras. Through breathing techniques, movements and mantras, Maya demonstrates how to clear the mind and body, allowing viewers to tap into the universal forces and manifest anything in life. 60 minutes. Made in the USA.

I have to say that I was very impressed with my first real taste of yoga (okay, I have done a few poses from my Wii, but I don't know if that really counts?) Maya Fiennes was very easy to follow along with and the DVD began with a short chant and then a warm up. I was a little skeptical about the chanting in the beginning and frankly felt a little silly doing it, but once I got the hang of it, I'm really glad that I did it. There is something about it that really puts things into perspective and I'm not sure yet how to express it.

What stood out the most is how very relaxing it is. As a former classical pianist she has made great use of her musical knowledge and creates a very calming vibe throughout the entire DVD. Maya uses breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga to help you get into a very balanced state. She talks about balancing your chakras and stimulating the kundalini. I have personally researched techniques for balancing and opening chakras for awhile now and I feel like the techniques included in this DVD are very effective. I felt much more clear headed and calm when I was finished. I would recommend this program for anyone looking into trying yoga for spiritual, mental and physical health as this DVD covers all three aspects.

The folks over at Gaiam offer Maya Fiennes' Yoga for Real Life DVD along with many other yoga DVDs and a whole line of yoga products and accessories. They also included a Taos Stainless Steel Water Bottle that is 100% recyclable, light weight and a great alternative to plastic water bottles. Plus its purple, and I love the color purple ;)

For a limited time you can purchase Gaiam Yoga products for 20% off. Click the banner below for the sale or enter to win your own copy of Maya Fiennes' Yoga for Real Life DVD and a Taos Stainless Steel Water Bottle compliments of Gaiam as part of the Giving Green 2012 Giveaway Hop!, Inc

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate my review. I was not monetarily compensated. My opinions are my own and may differ from yours. This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

Melissa and Doug are celebrating the holidays by featuring their list of the "Terrific Twenty" Holiday Gifts for 2012! And they are having a Melissa and Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway on their Facebook page! You can enter to win a toy from the Terrific Twenty List everyday! Head over and get your entries in!

Click Here To Enter!

This giveaway is open to US Residents only. For other details and complete rules please refer to the Melissa and Doug Facebook Giveaway page. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was not monetarily compensated for this post. I will receive one of the above listed products for review.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Homeward Bound Sale at Modcloth 25% Off!

I recently posted about a website I just found and LOVE and now they are having a sale!

Save big with ModCloth's ModCloth Homeward Bound Sale! The Homeward Bound Sale offers a great selection of holiday-ready products at an exciting 25% off discount. The featured products are all about going home, getting cozy, and going out! Get ready for the holidays and save with ModCloth.

Here are just a few of the products that they have on sale now!
Click on any of the links to go see the rest.

Armed With Technology Tea Infuser


Say High-low to Your Little Dress


Lady of the Flower Slipper


Natural Likeness Lantern


Fawn of Your Style Necklace


Scoops of Flower Measuring Spoons


Secret Ingredient Spoon


Deer Me Out Leggings


Fresh Skills Utensil Set


Disclosure: This post DOES contain affiliate links. That means if you purchase an item through my link I will earn a small profit. I only post things that I support and/or really really like and would buy myself. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Have you checked out ModCloth?

They have the cutest stuff! 

One of These Days Calendar - $16.99

Get all your dates straight with this incredibly cute calendar! Featuring fun and fanciful designs by illustrator Fiona Hewitt, whose signature color-saturated, vector-style aesthetic blends Asian artistic influences with kitschy cuteness, it's a unique way to mark each day. Made from recycled card, it's eco-friendly as well as helpfully handy! Turn the four dials on the back to reveal the day, date, and month, and use the attached hook to hang it in the perfect place where you'll always see it and smile.

Contain Your Excitement Coffee Canister - $14.99

When you mix marvelous baking skills, a dreamy sense of style, and that irresistible charm, it's no big surprise that your breakfast nook has become a hangout! Whether youre chatting over a game of cards or reflecting on your most recent favorite novel, the group can be captivated by the fragrance from the oven while they admire this fantastical container by artist Fiona Hewitt of UK-based Wu Wu. Illustrated in her signature style, which blends bright colors, an alluring cast of characters, and kitschy, Asian-inspired details, this clamp-to-close canister boasts a heroine on carousel horseback who is hungry for adventure. Framed by lovely scalloped trim, she plans to prance along this canisters dotted pink exterior with a few friends at her side. Just seal your signature blend beneath its pale blueberry lid, and this adorable accessory will keep your guests delighted by the dozens!
Disclosure: This post DOES contain affiliate links. That means if you purchase an item through my link I will earn a small profit. I only post things that I support and/or really really like and would buy myself. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wholesome Sweeteners Review

wholesome sweeteners logo
Making the World a Sweeter Place
Last week I received this fabulous package from Wholesome Sweeteners filled with lots of sweet goodies!!

wholesome sweeteners products

I have to say, when it comes to promoting their products, Wholesome Sweeteners is not stingy! I also received a cute little bee stuffed animal but my toddler accosted it before it made it into the picture. Its currently M.I.A. No worries though! I still have plenty to work with!

I came across Wholesome Sweeteners when I was learning about Fair Trade products and companies. Since researching what these companies stand for I have been actively trying to support them. They really do make a wonderful effort to help not only the environment, but people as well. Wholesome Sweeteners is fully committed to supporting all of these values and helped lead the way.

Our Mission
  • To supply only the finest organic and natural sugar products from ethically and environmentally responsible growers and manufacturers;
  • To provide consumers with the choice of safe, flavorful, organic and natural sugars that are produced with respect for the environment, human welfare, food safety and the health and nutritional needs of consumers' families;
  • To be the premier supplier of added-value natural and organic sweeteners to retail, foodservice and industrial food manufacturing markets of North America.

Wholesome Sweeteners products are also non-GMO and certified organic. As you can see from the picture above, they offer a wide variety of products including their new Organic Coconut Palm Sugar.
Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Raw Organic Honey

Another interesting fact about this company is that they are the first Fair Trade AND Organic honey product in the United States. I encourage you to read this very interesting article on their blog:

Wholesome Sweeteners offers ONLY safe and eco-friendly products. And they taste good too! I mean, come on, its sugar! AND it is sugar you can actually feel good about eating (in moderation of course, I mean, it IS sugar) Go check out my recipe for Sweet and Spicy Soba Noodles using Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Certified Organic Molasses and see for yourself!

You can view a complete list of their products here. They are also available locally in these stores.

Oh, and did I mention that they have also offered to be a sponsor in the You Are What You Eat Giveaway Hop?! That's right, you can enter to win your own fabulous prize pack from Wholesome Sweeteners!
Enter Here and Good Luck!

You Are What You Eat Giveaway Hop

You Are What You Eat Giveaway
Welcome Everyone to the You Are What You Eat Giveaway Hop! We have some great giveaways lined up for you and you can also enter the win the Grand Prize of the Hop! Keep Reading!

Californians are going to the polls to vote on Prop 37, also known as the food labeling law. The Green Moms Network supports Americans right to know if their food contains genetically engineered ingredients and is committed to showcasing natural and organic eating. 
So, welcome to the You Are What You Eat Giveaway Hop, hosted by Happy Mothering and Marlie and Me . A team of 20 + green mom bloggers are giving away prizes valued at $20 minimum related to eating healthy. You'll find giveaways for healthful, natural or organic foods, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and more!  

Vitacost $100 Gift Card Giveaway! ~ Ends 11/30

I placed my first order with Vitacost a few weeks ago after seeing a blog post about it with a $10 coupon. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the prices. I had been needing some essential oils and other supplies to make some of my natural cleaning products. I ended up getting 2 bottles of essential oils, a 16oz bottle of Castor oil and an 8 oz bottle of vegetable glycerin for under $15.00 shipped! I would love to have $100 to spend there! Good luck to you all!
vitacost giveaway button
Sponsored by Vitacost and Military Wives Saving
Thank you to our great co-host for helping with this awesome giveaway: 
always searching for savings button


One LUCKY winner will snag a $100 Vitacost Credit to spend on whatever you want at - and, even sweeter, everyone who signs up HERE with my link will score a FREE $10 credit (so that means $110 to spend)!

Let's Do This!

Sweet and Spicy Soba Noodles

 Sweet and Spicy Soba Noodles

This is a really easy recipe to throw together and very satisfying. I used Japanese Soba Noodles which are made from whole wheat flour and buckwheat and cook in about four minutes. I sauteed the vegetables in coconut oil which has some amazing health benefits (read more about them here), I used the vegetables I had on hand which were mushrooms, onions and sweet peppers. 
I cooked it all up and tossed it into a sauce made from organic molasses, cilantro herb paste, green onions, and asian sweet chili sauce. The molasses mixed with the cilantro makes for a very distinct flavor and I find myself using that combination in a lot of dishes. The sweet chili sauce adds just the right amount of spice to it, without being overbearing. It reallys hits the spot (and the sweet tooth!) I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  • 1 3oz. package of Soba Noodles 
  • 8oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion 
  • 1/4 green onions chopped
  • 3-4 mini sweet peppers
  • 1Tbsp Cilantro Herb Paste
  • 3Tbsp Asian Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut oil

Prepare all of your vegatables. Slice the mushrooms, red onion, green onion and mini sweet peppers.
Prepare the soba noodles according to the package directions, drain and keep warm. 
Sautee the mushrooms, sweet peppers, and red onion on medium-high heat in the coconut oil until all are tender (10-12) minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, combine the molasses, green peppers, asian sweet chili sauce and cilantro herb paste and mix well. Set aside.
When your vegetables are ready, toss the soba noodles into the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the noodles are sufficiently warmed back up.
Transfer the noodles and veggies to your sauce bowl and mix it all together. Serve it up!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Know This Before You Attempt to Go Green

Many of us have dreams of being a completely "natural" mom. Once the green bug bites you, the ideas start to roll in. You want to eat all-natural, reduce your carbon footprint, have an all-natural home; the list goes on and on! Its all very exciting and then, after the initial excitement, very intimidating. It is at this point that many people may feel overwhelmed and are tempted to just forget the whole thing. I urge you not to do that.

Going green, or trying to be more natural in your home and everyday life, is a very worthy goal. Its also a very attainable one if done right. The most important thing to remember is this:

You have lived a certain lifestyle for your whole life, don't expect that lifestyle to disappear overnight!

Green ChecklistTake it slow and go easy on yourself! Start by listing the things that are most important to you. Ask yourself what made you want to live a different lifestyle and be specific in your answer! Did you read an article about chemicals in cleaning products? Are you concerned about the products you are putting on or in your children? Pick the thing that had the most impact on changing your way of thinking.

It all began with that idea, so go with it. If you one day wondered about the cleaning product on your floor after your baby started crawling, why not start with changing your floor cleaner to a safer product? Vinegar and lemon juice do wonders on kitchen floors!

If your clothes started irritating your skin and you began to wonder what's in your laundry detergent, try a natural one! There are many natural recipes online for laundry detergent. If you're not a DIY type of person, there are also many to choose from on the grocery shelves and online.

Its okay to want to change the world, just remember that you can't do it tomorrow and you can't do alone! Find others around you that have the same interests or that are willing to try new things with you. Look online for tips. It doesn't have to be complicated and it doesn't have to be expensive.

It does help if its planned out. I'm just beginning this journey myself and I'll share everything I know, even  as I am learning it myself. I hope that if you've made this decision you'll decide to see it through. Its not always easy but I can tell you that it feels really good when you're finally able to accomplish making even one good change in the natural direction!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Welcome to the Fair Trade Giveaway Hop at My Journey to Living Well

Welcome to the Fair Trade Giveaway Hop in support of October's Fair Trade Month hosted by Happy MotheringEco-Crazy Mom and the Green Moms Network! To celebrate Fair Trade Month, we are featuring giveaways from companies that ethically produce and source products from around the world. You can find a list of more fair trade giveaways valued at $25 or more at the bottom of this post.

Fair Trade Giveaway Hop

The aim of the Fair Trade Movement is to ensure that all workers are provided just compensation for their skills and trades and taught sustainable production techniques. It impacts many developing countries where previously no such organizations existed. When you buy Fair Trade, you can be assured that you are improving lives and helping the environment! To learn more about the Fair Trade movement please visit

My Journey to Living Well has lined up some fabulous sponsors for this event!

Sustainable Suds
Orange Blossom, White Tea, Lavender
Hand in Hand Soap was created in 2011 by a couple with a desire to make a difference. After reading an article regarding the staggering number of deaths each year caused by poor water quality and lack of proper hygeine, this amazing couple set out to make a difference. For every bar of Hand in Hand Soap sold, they donate one bar to a child in need. That is bar for bar! 

Enter below for your chance to win 3 bars of Hand in Hand Sustainable Suds!
A $27.00 Value

Alter Eco Foods offer rice, chocolate, quinoa and sugar that is all GMO-free and organic. They currently help employ 5,300 farmers who produce their goods in a sustainable way.

Some information about Alter Eco Foods:

$150,000 IN PREMIUMS

Hand in Hand Soap ~ Sustainable Suds Review

Sustainable Suds
Hand in Hand Soap was created in 2011 by a couple with a desire to make a difference. After reading an article regarding the staggering number of deaths each year caused by poor water quality and lack of proper hygeine, this amazing couple set out to make a difference. For every bar of Hand in Hand Soap sold, they donate one bar to a child in need. That is bar for bar! 

I'll start with some key features of this company as listed on their site and then let you know what I thought:

sustainable suds

  • 1 bar of soap donated for every bar purchased 
  • 50 sq ft of rainforest saved for every bar purchased 
  • To help alleviate poverty in the US and the developing world, a donation is made to fund micro-credit loans for every bar purchased
  • 100% vegetable based, vegan, organic ingredients, gluten-free, biodegradable, palm-free & cruelty-free 
  • Fair Trade USA certified 
  • Natural Products Association certified 
  • All shipments include carbon offset and eco-friendly packaging  
  • Paraben-free & petrochemical-free 
I received three bars of soap from Hand in Hand a few days ago and I could smell the soaps through the packaging! I received Orange Blossom, Tea Tree, and Lavender. I was interested in this company initially because they are a Fair Trade Company and are made from natural products.

I've been making a real effort recently to make sure that I only use all natural soaps and shampoos on me and my children after learning about all the chemicals added to most main stream products. The fact that Hand in Hand soaps are also vegan was a real plus for me too.

When I was finally able to open the packages (they are so beautifully wrapped it was almost a shame to do so) I was greeted by a nice, big bar of soap. They are 4.5 ounces each which was nice because many drugstore brands range from 3 to 4 ounces. I used the Orange Blossom to give my daughters a bath and it smelled really good in the bathroom that morning! I could even smell it on them a few hours later after they had been running around like crazy people. 

In short, these soaps are big, safe, effective and very pleasantly scented. But thats not even the best part....

hand in hand in HaitiMy favorite part about this company are the things they are doing to help others and the environment. In any possible way they could, they have helped the environment and others. Earlier this year they were able to head down to Haiti and deliver their soap to some beautiful children in Haiti.

Even the packaging on the soap is eco-friendly. Hand in Hand recently partnered with Whole Planet Foundation and has been featured in People Style Watch, Vogue Daily, Self, and House Beautiful. Go check out their blog for more information and to see the stories.

You can purchase Hand in Hand Soap on their website or at Anthropologie. They have also generously agreed to be a sponsor in the upcoming Fair Trade Giveaway Hop starting Monday, October 22 so be sure to check in and enter to win!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review. I received the above indicated products in order to facilitate this review at no cost to me. I will always give my honest opinion regardless of any compensation received. My opinions are my own and may differ from yours.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Beyond the Shaker Giveaway! Ends ~ 10/24

Hope you enjoy this giveaway for all-natural, unrefined gourmet sea salt blends by Beyond the Shaker! Good luck everyone!

Himalayan salt, Fleur de Sel, and other gourmet seasoned salts

I recently had the opportunity to work with Beyond The Shaker. Beyond the Shaker sells unrefined, premium gourmet salts.

Amazing and Different is all I can say. 

Each one has a variety of foods you can try them on! The Herb Garden Blend was excellent. I used it on a whole roasted chicken after the pack said it was excellent on roasted chicken and it was! It's also great for grilled corn on the cob and Tilapia. 
(The Alderwood Smoke works great on roasts!)

They have a variety of of different salts to choose from and they even carry gift sets! This will be perfect for the Holidays around my house! If I absolutely had to choose my favorite, it would be The Herb Garden Blend. I don't like anything that tastes really salty and this didn't. It gave a pleasant taste and added just the right amount of flavoring. The aromatic smell is great too! Overall I am pleased with my experience with Beyond The Shaker. The products are great, customer service was awesome and the shipping was fast! 

Definitely recommend this for the cook in your life!

NOW for the part you've been waiting for: Beyond the Shaker has agreed to give one lucky reader a jar of the Herb Garden Blend! Enter to win on the Rafflecopter below!

 Image 1
Good Luck to you ALL!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. I did however receive the above mentioned product free of charge for review purposes only. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." Down South Savings is not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize shipments.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Benefits of Buying Green

Welcome to the October 2012 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Ethical Shopping Choices
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they make purchasing choices.

Benefits of Buying Green

Part 1 ~ Meat and Dairy

It is an unfortunate and well known fact that money talks. Do you know what your money is saying?

Many consumers do not, and up until very recently, I was one of them. For instance, I didn't know when I bought many brands of meat and dairy that I was supporting animal cruelty and abuse.

Oh sure, I'd seen a few stories on television where one company or another was exposed. They were very horrific and there was much dismay and a lot of fingers pointing another way. Then they were very soon excused and forgotten about because said company had promised to make amends.

I have since learned that such cruelty cases are much more commonplace than I ever could have believed. Its not just the few publicized cases of animal abuse by factory workers that now concerns me. The entire life of most of these animals are lived in inhumane and cruel conditions from birth to slaughter.

For example, did you know that many hens are "debeaked" to keep them from fighting? Why would they be fighting? Because they are kept shoulder to shoulder in spaces not much bigger than a piece of paper for their entire lives (keeps costs down). Debeaking is a process in which the animals are put on an assembly line and taken one by one to have their beaks inserted into a specially made machine and have it whacked off by hot cutters.

Did you know that males born to dairy cows are kept in crates for the entirety of their lives, which is about 3-4 months? At this point they are slaughtered for veal while the mother cow grieves just as much as any human mother would. In fact, mother cows have been known to outwardly grieve for months and even stop eating. Of course if she stops eating she is considered useless and carted off to slaughter as well.

The sheer magnitude of these cases baffle me and is entirely too much to cover in one blog post but I urge to take a look at some of the following sites to see for yourself:

WARNING: These sites may content graphics, videos and/or stories that are extremely disturbing:

Stop Factory Farms

United Poultry Concerns

Born Free USA: The Destructive Dairy Industry

You may be wondering at this point if I am urging you to go vegetarian. If you looked at those sites you may be considering it on your own anyway. But no, you don't have to be a vegetarian in order to stop this sort of treatment. The only way to stop it is to stop supporting companies that do it, (i.e. Don't Buy Their Products). That is how your money talks.

Thankfully not ALL companies support these practices. You can find a list of companies that support the ethical treatment of animals here:

Stop Factory Farms: Which Companies Used Humanely Raised Meat

Eat Well Guide

I also highly recommend that you read (or watch) Food Inc. Amazon sells the book used for as little as $3.49, and the used DVD for as little as $5.25. If you subscribe to Netflix, look for it there too.

But buying green is not only about animals. Buying green means that you are supporting products that are good for humans, animals, and the environment. I have highlighted the meat and dairy industries in this post only because they were what initiated the change in my personal buying habits. I hope to cover other industries in future posts as I learn more about them. Remember, I'm taking baby steps here.

So what are the benefits of buying green meat and dairy products?

  • You are supporting the billions of animals born in the United States each year for food production and kept in inhumane conditions.
  • You are also helping to keep your own family healthier by not consuming animal products that have been injected with growth hormones to produce their product more quickly and antibiotics because of their extreme living conditions.
  • You are supporting small business farmers who can barely keep up with their major corporation counterparts.

Did you know about all this? It astounds me that this information is not being blasted all over the news everyday. What are your thoughts?
Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Progress So Far

I began this blog about a month ago to document my journey to going green, eating healthier and living better. I thought I would give you an update on my progress so far.

If I were grading myself I would give myself a C. Not very high right? Well, here's what happened:

When I first started I was really excited and really motivated to DO THIS! I started the blog, joined some blogger groups and commenced to dive in head first to anything "green" and "healthy" and I believe that I got information overload.