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.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Primal Pit Paste Review and Giveaway! Have You Gone Primal?

A  few weeks ago I saw a story on my local news about a new product which was developed by a woman who was concerned about the lack of all natural deodorants that actually work. She had been looking for a deodorant for one of her children and found that most of the "shelf" deodorants all contained toxic chemicals that she didn't want on her child. There were all-natural options of course, but none that she felt did the job. Her solution? Develop her own! And so began Primal Pit Paste. You can read the story yourself HERE.

Lilla Rose Review and Giveaway ~ Ends 10/31

I saw these great Lilla Rose hair clips on another giveaway that I enter a few weeks ago, I love them! They have a very classic look to them and there are SO many to choose from. I hope you enjoy this giveaway. Good luck!
Lilla Rose Review and Giveaway!
Giveaway presented by our generous sponsor: 
Independent Lilla Rose Consultant, Kathy Allison 
and Rebecca @ Love2EncourageYou
Special Thanks to our Co-Hosts: Frugal Family Home and Brooke Blogs.
Full Review by Rebecca @ Love2EncourageYou: I called to my daughter and said, "Let's try on a new dress and use the beautiful new Flexi clip for your hair that you got in the mail from Lilla Rose with Kathy Allison!" We started with the fairy Flexi clip which we got in a size x-small for her fine straight hair. We pulled her hair back into a ponytail style and added the clip. It gave the appearance of long elegant hair with a gorgeous flash of sparkles on this fairy hair accessory from Lilla Rose.
Next we tried pulling all her hair up in a bun on her head with a twist effect so there was no hair hanging down the back of her neck. We used my purple Flexi clip which is a size small. It did a good job keeping all her hair up as her little brother chased her around the room back and forth and they danced to some music on one of his little toys. Her hair could bounce and jiggle, but the Lilla Rose Flexi clip did not come out! What a great test of this wonderful product! I love this Lilla Rose Flexi clip!
I also personally tried the Lilla Rose Flexi clip in the purple small size and pulled back some of my long sides to get it out of my face. This helps alot for while I'm working on the computer, assisting at church teaching the little ones in Awanas or nursery, and when cooking meals. Besides ...who doesn't want to have worry free hair that looks fashionable and stylish all with the use of a simple hair accessory? Five big stars out of five for this product! You can follow Lilla Rose on Facebook or Twitter.  The Flexi clip by Lilla Rose comes in seven different sizes to fit every hair type and thickness.
Please watch the sizing and style video below as it's very important to you know which size flexi-clip would work best for your hair. If by chance you order the wrong size, Lilla Rose will gladly exchange your flexi for free within 90 days. There is also a one year guarantee on defective items. This is a great customer bonus because not all companies will do this!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Giveaway! Woolzies Dryer Balls! ~ Ends10/31

Woolzies Dryer Balls are a great chemical free alternative to your regular fabric softener! I am always looking for these types of alternatives so I was happy to participate in this giveaway and let my readers in on a chance to win. Good luck!


Free is for Me and Woolzies are giving one person the opportunity to win a eco-friendly, economical, & safe for your family alternative to Fabric Softener liquids and sheets!! To read Free is for Me's full review of these AWESOME products click HERE! Experience why finding alternative to harmful chemicals is so important to you and your family!!
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Kindle Fire Giveaway Sponsored by SavingsStar! ~ Ends 10/24

Who is ready for a Kindle Fire Giveaway?! Some great blogs have teamed up with SavingsStar and Madame Deals Media to offer you a chance to win a new Kindle Fire just in time for the holidays! Have you checked off who has been naughty and who has been nice? Who is the lucky person on your list?

This Kindle Fire Giveaway is sponsored by SavingStar and brought to you by Madame Deals Media. **Powered by Mommy Needs Her Coffee and Madame Deals**

My Journey to Appreciation

I have read that one of the first steps to a more peaceful life is to learn to appreciate what you have. Even if you don't have much. 

I am a big reader, my favorite genre is spirituality. I really feel like I can have a better life when I'm reading these books (and I've read many). The only problem with this is that I generally only have time to read at night when the kids go to sleep. So I'm feeling very peaceful and spiritual for about an hour or so and then its over until the next evening.

So I am making a commitment to start incorporating some spiritual practices into my everyday life. And I'm starting with Appreciation. My plan is to start actively appreciating everything in my life, beginning with my home. I hope you'll join me as I begin by appreciating my couch. Yes, I said I am going to appreciate my couch. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Closed ~ 24 Hour Flash! Enter to Win a Stainless Steel Detail Groomer from Mangroomer

Welcome! My Journey to Living Well is pleased to have teamed up with Down South Savings and Adventures of a Midlife Mommy to offer you this 24 Hour Flash Giveaway for a Stainless Steel Detail Groomer from Mangroomer. Enter at the Rafflecopter below. Good Luck!


I recently had the opportunity to work with MANGROOMER and my husband was lucky enough to try the products! I was quiet surprised when I opened my box and saw all the awesome products! I received the Scruff Sculptor, Stainless Steel Detail Groomer, and  The Professional DIY Electric Back Hair Shaver for review.

MANGROOMER shipped my products super fast and any questions I had were answered promptly. And what's better you ask? MANGROOMER has a 2 year satisfaction guarantee of their products! They also have handy videos to give you more information about their products. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

FREE Kindle E(Cook)books - October 2, 2012

Here is a list of some FREE Kindle E(Cook)books for today. Remember that they don't always STAY free so hurry up and go check them out!

Paleo for Beginners: Essentials to Get Started
This number one in today's TOP 100 FREE EBOOKS
in the Cooking Section

The January edition of the Weekend Homesteader is now FREE!
This is really a great series!

The Puglian Cookbook: Bringing the Flavors of Puglia Home
"The cuisine of Puglia is famous for being among the best in Italy. Puglian food is deeply rooted in the traditions of this southern Italian region, its geography, and its history as the breadbasket of Italy and the largest producer of olive oil."

Baking Basics and Beyond: 

Learn These Simple Techniques and Bake Like a Pro 
 This one has a digital listed price of $19.95 so I'm sure it won't last long!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Goat Milk Stuff Giveaway!

Sponsor: Goat Milk Stuff 

Very Special Thanks to all of the bloggers helping to promote this giveaway!

Dates: October 2nd - October 12th
Open to US Residents Only
18+ Void Where Prohibited

Welcome to the Goat Milk Stuff Giveaway! There will be 2 winners! Each winner will recieve a $25 Gift Certificate to Goat Milk Stuff. Me, I love this "Stuff"! 
Here is a little history about the company.

Saffron Yellow Rice Nori Rolls

If you've been intimidated by making your own nori rolls, don't be! It's really not difficult, If I can do it so can you. This is only the second time I've made these and I'm still experimenting with different ingredients. 

I chose saffron rice to change up the flavor a bit and because I am trying to include different herbs and spices in my food. This time I'm using sesame seeds but on the last recipe I used chia seeds instead. You can add what you have on hand or leave that out completely.

For the inside, I'm using kiwi, avocado, and carrots, all thinly sliced. You can mix this up as well. Some ideas include cucumber, cabbage, pineapple, tempeh, tofu, asparagus, or anything else you like. 

The nori (seaweed) itself is full of health benefits and as soon as you heat it or put some warm rice on it, you'll realize why Asian restaurants smell the way they do! You can read more about the health benefits of nori here

This is what you'll need:

This made two rolls.