Thursday, June 12, 2008

General Updates: Green report, Weight Watchers, Life

On the green front: Working harder than ever. My current work is on body lotions, shampoos, soaps, etc. I've switched all of our household cleaning products to natural ones (either vinegar, baking soda, Meyers, Trader Joe's, Seventh Generation, or Method brands), and now I'm switching my own products.

Toothpaste: Tom's of Maine. They've just come out with a new line that does not contain sodium laurel sulphates, but we're still using their "old" stuff. Ryan and I like minty flavors; Tessa prefers their "silly strawberry."

Deodorant: This has been a tough one. I've used, and dismissed as unworkable, Alba and Tom's of Maine brands. Yesterday I picked up a rock crystal ($2 for the small size, so at least it's cheap), as I've received good reviews about them. Apparently the mineral salts don't allow odor-causing bacteria to grow. We will see!

Shampoo & Conditioner: We just finished our bottle of Trader Joe's shampoo, so I took the empty bottle to PCC, determined to refill it with one of their natural bulk shampoos. (Why do we accept that shampoo bottles get used and tossed? Why NOT refill them?) I ended up buying Giovanni Organics brand from the bulk section, which doesn't contain fragrance (which is full of carcinogens), phalates (sp?), SLS, or parabens. My first shower with it is in a few minutes, so I don't know if it's good. Previously I bought Avalon Organics Lavendar conditioner, and I didn't like the strong scent OR the way it made my hair feels, so still working on that one.

General household soap: We bought Ballard Organics Lavendar Castile Soap. Our whole family likes the mild scent of lavendar (there were other types to choose from, as well; it uses essential oils, not "fragrance"), and castile soap is supposed to be "the best" environmentally speaking. Apparently I could use this for dish soap, general cleaning, or hand/body soap. I refilled our hand soap dispenser in our bathroom with it, with lots left over. This, too, was from the bulk section at PCC.

Sunscreen: I did NOT like the "Kiss My Face" brand, but I really like the Alba sunscreen. (On sale for $7.99; you can get different formulations and SPF levels.) I also threw out my Banana Boat Aloe Vera, because even though it LOOKED like aloe vera and said aloe vera on the sticker, reading the ingredients proved that it had very little aloe in it. (Grrr.) We love aloe for after-sun.

Lip Balm/Lip Gloss/Lip Stick: I love my Alba products, and they're inexpensive.

Face lotion: I bought a sample size "JASON Red Elements" face moisturizer with SPF in it, and I really like it (I've used it for a while). I also like the Alba moisturizer. There are a LOT to choose from, but as price is important to me as well as health, these two are the outstanding winners.

Razors: For years, we've gone to Costco to purchase their disposable razors. All of those plastic handles in say nothing of the huge plastic makes me cringe. We still have an abundant supply, and we will use those up, but I intend to find something with cartridges where you replace the blade but not the handle each time. I'll work on that when our razors are almost gone.

Other cosmetics: I have no idea! I don't wear make-up very often but I like to have a little available to me. I haven't researched them yet, but I will.

If you have had success with any face/body products, I'd love to hear about them.

I am currently reading "Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home" by Christopher Gavigan, and it is so helpful that I'm tempted to buy it (mine is a library copy). It has information about everything from mosquito repellent to lice treatment (argh my head itches just thinking about it...but it's a common problem in elementary schools and since Tessa is almost there.....ack!) to pet shampoos and a million other topics. For those of you who love People Magazine, you'll also love that it is a star-studded book, with tons of stars weighing in with their green experiences; there are side-bar essays throughout the book by the likes of Brooke Shields, Tobey Maguire, Kate Hudson, and dozens more.

Weight Watchers: I am on track, although it's only Thursday and I've used up more of my flex points than I'm comfortable with - it'll be a skinny weekend (not too many points) at this rate. No matter, it's worth it! Last night I made a yummy Cooking Light chicken piccata dish for Marisa and Tom, and it felt decadent even though it wasn't. (A tablespoon of butter in a dish goes a long way - yum.) We did have Bakery Nouveau desserts, but it was worth every bite. (My favorite is their raspberry topped chocolate mousse.)

And life? Busy as always. Soon, Tessa and I will go run errands to get ready for the rest of the day, which involves a lunch date with Michele and boys, preschool, my parents and grandmother coming for dinner, and then of course preschool graduation. I will try to walk to many of my errands, taking Shep with me, to get exercise and stay green.

I am looking forward to graduation immensely - I can hardly believe that my daughter has grown into such a beautiful (inside and out) child. She has already tried on her outfit for the evening (she's wearing her blue and white Easter dress with the wide blue ribbon sash; her black sparkly shoes; and a collection of jewelry she's chosen for the occassion) and she's been practicing her special graduation songs for days. Hearing her singing to herself gives me a joy that is difficult to describe.

About a day ago I think I came to a realization as to why *I* feel so emotional about this graduation. I think it's because when I was diagnosed one of my fears is that I wouldn't even see my daughter get to kindergarten....and here she is, on her way. I am so grateful for that that I'm crying as I type those words.

As I thought about it this week, I found myself negotiating with God. "I know I said I just needed to get her to kindergarten...I know I said that I would just take that....but it's not enough. Please, God, it's not enough. High school? Could I just see her graduate from high school? I know I said I would take less, but I love her so....please, please could I have more?" I heard God's voice reply. "I know," the voice said, with a smile. "I knew that all along. It's okay. Renegotiate. I understand." I didn't get any promises, just understanding. The God that I believe in doesn't negotiate, doesn't choose favors like that. The God that I believe in doesn't talk, either, for that matter! But some great spirit that I call God is out there, running the universe, and I felt that presence strongly. I was comforted somehow.

A new favorite song of mine is one that the RE (religious educator) Kari taught us, the chorus of which is a lovely meditation:
All will be well,
All will be well.
All matter of things
will be well.

If you want to hear it, you can go to iTunes and search on an album called "Mango Thoughts in a Meatloaf Town" and click on "All Will Be Well." This is the song I hum to myself when the world seems too much.

And with that....I'm off. Wish me mindfulness for the day - that despite my rushing here and there, I will remember to be present with my visit with 'Chele, that I will focus more on the joy of having my family over than the details of the dinner, that I will not think of the future, only the beautiful present, as I watch Tessa graduate.

Have a great day!


Castle Bath Body Spa said...

I have very much enjoyed your journey surviving Brest Cancer and going Green. I opened a green company a few years back and am quite amazed at what commercial products use just to make people believe they are better- which in fact actually are very harmful. I too recycle big time- everything is recyclable in some way or another to me- I once read an article about making furniture out of un recyclable stuff- it was very cool! Come visit my Green and Natural shop, sometime:-)

Blessings, Laura of Purrinlot & Castle Baths Hand Made, Naturally Made, Always! AND GREEN

Soap Nuts said...

Did you know that a liquid made from organic Soapnuts works as a chemical-free yet effective mosquito repellent? You can even add various essential oils to create a scent you like. Perfect for babies and those with skin disorders. Check it out!

Lewis said...

Hi, I am the VP of Marketing at Kiss My Face and read that you arent a fan of our sunscreen. I would love to know what you didnt like about it so we can try to improve it. Thanks for your comments and please also let me know if you have thoughts on our other products. have a great day! Lewis Goldstein

My email is