This Mom's 5 Back to School Must Haves

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nick & Ben return to school on Thursday.  It is so hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day of summer vacation.  And do NOT even get me started about it being something new for this sappy mom:  Ben will be gone full days for the first time ever. Last year, he had half day kindergarten, so my little monkey was home at 11:30.  Not anymore.  They are growing WAY TOO FAST.

 I wanted to share five Back to School Favorite Finds with you!

I love this water bottle! The super kind folks at The WaterGeeks actually sent one to me last week and I really think each of us in this house needs one.  It is really a fabulous water bottle. It has all of the features I want and more: no phthalates, BPA, or nasty PVC. It also has a built in filter.  How cool is that?

We are huge L.L. Bean fans in this house. When we buy something from them, we know that the products will be great quality and last forever--in fact, they guarantee their items for life.  Both boys have L.L. Bean backpacks and lunch boxes. Nick's is red and Ben's is blue.  They are affordable and will last years and years.

Reusable sandwich bags are fun to look at, easy to clean, and good for the earth.  You'll find many on Etsy, including these adorable dinosaur bags from Nattie's Stuff.

Chemical-laden hand sanitizers give me the heebie-jeebies.  I send both of my boys to school with Clean Well All Natural Hand Sanitizer.  They keep it right in their backpacks.

Recycled pencils made with paper by Moxie Pear on Etsy are ecofriendly and won't contribute to deforestation.

Please Vote for C & G!

Monday, August 29, 2011

City, the weekly newspaper in Rochester, is having its annual Best of Rochester competition and BEST BLOG is a category. This isn't like me, but this is something I would love to win!

Chic & Green is one of the most well known green beauty blogs in the blogosphere, with readers around the globe. We've been able to gain recognition through mentions in the paper and on major sites nationally and globally (in the UK), but only 20% of our readers are actually based in the Rochester area, so I would LOVE to tap the local base even more.

Would you please take a moment to nominate CHIC & GREEN in the blog category? There is no other blog like it in the area and I think it'd be cool to have more local readers. If you're not local, you can just scroll right through until you get to best blog! BEST LOCAL BLOG IS #62 ON THE BALLOT.

Thank you so much for voting!

Etsy Love!

Sharing some handmade finds ordered by MOI recently:

Banner from Vintage Scraps ~  This one will hang in the living room.

Beautifully handmade case for Nook, Kindle and 7" tablets. This is SO adorable in person and highly cushioned!

Garland to hang in my kitchen, where I'm doing a thrifty, vintage chic new "workstation" area
By Maggie Jane's Vintage

Sunday Morning Coffee

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Art print from Handz

Badger Mocha Cocoa Butter Lip Balm from Nature's Basin

Note card from Sparrowsnestscript on Etsy

100% Pure Cocoa Kona  Body Wash

Prem Soaps coffee soap is divine!

Recycled coffee sack clutch from Etsy's Sidney Ann

Chunky knit coffee cozy from Anna Wang

I also have to recommend this great read, which I just finished. It's called Onward and is by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. Find it at

Aromafloria Giveaway Winner!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jo F. from New York is the winner of the Aromafloria $75 trio of products. Jo, you've been emailed and as soon as I have your mailing information, this will be shipped out.

Afternoon Treat!

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's FINALLY Friday, people! I know we have the 2 fabulous giveaways ending tonight, but I am feeling SUPER generous today and have another special deal!

As you know I joined alex + von  three weeks ago and am a brand specialist and independent consultant for 100% Pure. I am loving every moment being back in the skin care and beauty biz--and thrilled not to have the time investment and sleepless nights associated with having my own beauty brand like I once did. Anyway, these past three weeks being part of a team of amazing women with an entrepreneurial spirit has been an absolute blessing.

To share in this good mood, I have a special afternoon deal. When you spend $40 until 4pm EDT today on my site, I will send you an e-gift card for $10. This $10 can be used on a future purchase and there's no minimum (like it's not $10 off when you spend $100 or anything like that!)

You can keep this $10 for yourself or you can give it to a friend to use. Once you make a purchase of $40 or more (shipping not included), you can email me at and let me know where you'd like me to send your e-gift card. It's that simple!

Summer Giveaways End TONIGHT!

Two great giveaways are ending TONIGHT! Do not forget to enter them!

GIVEAWAY #1:  Organic Argan Oil by 100% Pure Worth $19

GIVEAWAY #2:  Aromafloria 3 Piece Pampering Set Worth $75

What's In It Wednesday: Chapstick

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's been a while since we've had a What's In It Wednesday feature, so this is long overdue! Today, we'll take a look at the ever popular ChapStick Lip Balm in Cherry. What is REALLY in this?

Let's take a look.  It's a gross one, really. And quite unhealthy, I might add.  When it comes to a lip balm, you are truly getting what you pay for (3 for $3.99 at There is nothing good about this product in terms of ingredients.

Here is the listing of ingredients from a tube of Original Cherry ChapStick:

Active Ingredients: Padimate O (1.5%), White Petrolatum (44%)

Inactive Ingredients: Arachidyl Propionate, Camphor, Cetearyl Alcohol, D&C Red 6 Barium Lake (CI 15850), FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake, Fragrance, Isopropyl Lanolate, Isopropyl Myristate, Lanolin, Light Mineral Oil, Methylparaben, Octyldodecanol, Oleyl Alcohol, Phenyl Methicone, Propylparaben, Titanium Dioxide, Wax

We'll first talk about the fact that 44% of the entire product is White Petrolatum. This is actually banned for use in cosmetics in the EU (manufacturing or structural exception that allows the substance; source Cosmetics Database).  Even worse, it may be contaminated with chemicals linked to cancer.  So, unless a company can prove the full refining history in the EU, it cannot be used in cosmetics. In the US, though, anything goes.

What is Padimate O? It's actually a derivative of PABA.  You all remember PABA, don't you? It used to be popular in sunscreens until it was discovered that it releases harmful free radicals which harm the DNA and can have estrogen properties. This is in here too. This is linked to cancer.

The other bad ingredients in this:

Camphor:  This is perhaps the most troubling ingredient. How is that camphor is still used in these products when it is known to be toxic in children. In fact, Nancy Clark, the Assistant Commissioner of New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) Bureau of Environmental Disease Prevention Program says"Camphor products can be very dangerous for children...Be sure to keep these products away from them. Swallowing camphor or applying it in large amounts to a child can cause seizures."

D&C Red 6 Barium Lake (CI 15850), FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake -- Concerns about links between FD & C as well as "lake" (metallic) colorants and cancer have been present for years. I would avoid.

Fragrance -- This is a synthetic ingredient which is responsible for a large percentage of allergies in many sufferers. It can be very irritating to certain individuals, especially children and those with respiratory issues, headaches, and other illnesses.

Light Mineral Oil -- This is a very inexpensive bi-product of petroleum. It is, in fact, a liquid crude oil.  It is a form of PETROLATUM (See above).

Methylparaben --  This type of paraben is a preservative agent against fungus. A very compelling study more than 7 years ago in the Journal of Applied Toxicology linked parabens to breast cancer as they may be hormone disruptive and lead to tumor growth. While the jury is still out on paraben safety, I personally find the links too strong and this home has been paraben free for more than 4 years.   

Propylparaben -- See above. 

Wax -- What KIND of wax? This is so vague! Is it beeswax? Wax from a crayon? Palm wax? This shouldn't be allowed on the label! Consumers have a right to know WHAT KIND of wax is in it!

The Bottom Line:

When you remember that 60% of what you apply gets absorbed into your bloodstream, it's a real risk when you're applying this to the lips.  ChapStick may have been the original product of its kind, but it is among the worst.

Here are some Chic & Green Affordable Favorites:

This is, in my opinion, the best of the best. You can get 3 for $7 and it is so gentle and all natural.  A favorite of mine from Aunt Nancy's on Etsy.

Vanilla lip balm from Made From Earth ($3.99) is another good choice.


My Nick likes this one from Prairie Dawn ($4)

Passing Along a GREAT Deal :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

WOW! New announcement!

I just heard that 100% Pure is offering a 2 day 25% off promo on the Gel Eye Liner, Angled Brush, and Eyeliner Brush through THURSDAY 8/18 at 10 pm PST. ‎ DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS??? It means that you'll save 25% on those PLUS 20% off using code BACKTOSCHOOL!

Let's see how much these three will be with the deal:

Gel Eye Liner: Reg. $18 With 25% off: $13.50  With additional 20% off: $10.80 

Cruelty Free Angled Brush: Reg. $13 With 25% off: $9.75 With additional 20% off: $7.80

Cruelty Free Eyeliner Brush: Reg. $9 With 25% off: $6.75  With additional 20% off: $5.40

Review: Sweet Pure Honey

I am sitting here right now smelling an exquisite, sweet (yet fresh) aroma, and just taking it all in.

Last week, I received a package in the mail from a company in Canada called Sweet Pure Honey.  I received several soap samples, natural perfume sticks, and lip tints. My first observation as I unpacked my package was the lovely aroma.  I do not use artificial fragrance.

When I smell something with artificial fragrance, it is very off putting to me now.  Once you have gotten ride of synthetic scents from your life, they will slap you in the face when you smell them again.  This is a good thing.  You then realize how bad they truly are for you.

This aroma, on the other hand, was so pleasing.  The beautiful natural scent of honey and pure essential oils are what you smell.  The blends are just lovely and oh so comforting.

I was sent samples of their soap and they really smell heavenly.  I cannot tell you how they work, though.  This company uses palm oil in their soaps and I do not use products with palm oil for ethical reasons.  I do have a friend, though, who uses palm oil soaps so I had her try them for me.  Her thoughts:  "A nice hard soap with nice lather. Smells nice. Rinses off without residue. I would buy these for myself."

Now, I did try the perfume sticks and lip balm.  The Organic Perfume Stick is great.  It comes in a lip balm style tube, is a balm consistency, and the high quality essential oils leave a beautiful and natural scent behind.  Nothing cloying.  Nothing that will make you sneeze.  Just pure and natural oils such as lemongrass, orange, vanilla and sandalwood.

I also cannot say enough about the Sweet Pure Honey Mica.  These are the lip tints and they are hand poured and made with fresh honey, coconut oil mixed with beeswax, and mica.  How lovely! The colors are subtle, but leave a sheer tint behind and lips feel nourished.

I'd give the two products I tried an A-.  The soaps I cannot grade since I didn't try them, but you just may love them.

Please check out Sweet Pure Honey today and tell them Chic & Green sent you over.

*Disclosure: The company sent me samples for the purpose of review. All opinions are purely my own.

Aromafloria Review + Giveaway

Friday, August 12, 2011

I've been trying out three new to me products from a truly eco-friendly line called Aromafloria.  I have used their delightful foot products before and I was really excited to have the chance to try some of their Kiwi Coconut items for review.

How lovely they are for summer! I'd like to share my thoughts on each of the 3 products and then tell you all about the giveaway from Aromafloria.

Sensory Fusion Kiwi Coconut Foaming Body Wash with Shea Butter

This is really nice! It is lightweight, lightly foaming without containing harsh sulfates, and makes your skin feel nice and clean without it feeling stripped.  I feel like my skin is really cared for with the aloe vera and shea butter, too.  The light aroma, courtesy of a natural essential oil blend and natural flavoring, reminds me of being at a luxurious spa. This, like all the other Aromafloria items, is free of SLS, parabens, and other toxins.

Overall grade: A-

Sensory Fusion Kiwi Coconut Whipped Body Butter with Shea & Aloe 

This is called a body butter, but I would call it a light body cream.  It is not thick or heavy at all and I would recommend this one for someone with normal to more oily skin. I like a thick and nourishing cream and this is much lighter than that to me.  I think it's because of the whipped, light texture.  That said, it is very cooling and soothing thanks to the aloe and shea and it really is  nice for a hot summer day. The aroma is quite nice, however, this one does contain artificial fragrance which I have tried to eliminate from my routine. All in all, it is a nice product, but I do wish it were a tad more natural. If you still use fragrance (not from essential oils), then you'll love this.

Overall grade: B

Kiwi Coconut Salt Creme Buff

If you know me at all from this blog, then you know how much I just love a good salt scrub.  I'll take a high-quality salt scrub over a sugar scrub any day (and I do like these, too). I like it to be extra scratchy and rich, but I know that most people prefer something lighter.  This scrub is for you!  It is not heavy or oily at all, nor is it thick.  That doesn't mean it won't work, though.  It is lightweight and isn't rough or harsh at all. It smells luscious--without artificial fragrance--and can even be used on those with oily skin. This is a nice one to exfoliate arms, legs, and torso. It's a winner!

Overall grade: A-

The Chic & Green Bottom Line

This is a luxury line--no doubt about it.  The three items will cost you $75.  That said, it is really a nice line for those who splurge on their products or who are looking for a special gift.

Do you want to own these three great items?  Aromafloria is giving one lucky C & G reader the three items I reviewed.


One reader will win the above 3 products from Aromafloria. US only. Ages 18+ only.

To enter, please visit Aromafloria's site. Comment HERE on what product sounds good to you.

For extra entries, do the following:

"Like" C & G on Facebook.

Post this C & G giveaway on Twitter and use the hashtag #chicandgreen 

"Like" Aromafloria on Facebook.

National Fragrance Free Day

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today is officially the Second Annual Fragrance Free Day, which was started by SeaYu, the makers of Clean + Green Natural Pet Stain and Odor Removers. Speaking of Clean + Green, this is where you want to go if you have that dog smell on your furniture. I have used the Furniture Refresher for Dogs since our 95 German Shepherd likes to lounge on the sofa and it really works. It's eco-friendly and non-toxic and I feel confident about its safety when my family is sitting on the furniture.

I'd like to tell you more about Fragrance Free Day and why it is so important for us to start eliminating artificial fragrances. I am not just talking about those labeled "phthalate free" either.  These are so popular now, but phthalates aren't the only toxin in fragrance oils. Whether they are phthalate free or not, they are not good for us.  Read more here.

Fragrance Free Day gives concerned consumers a chance to help spread awareness by pledging to go “fragrance free” via their social networks – meaning no perfumes/colognes, scented lotions or harsh cleaning products with added fragrances – for one full day.

So, what can you do? For one day, help the world breathe easier and pledge to not use any products that contain harsh chemical additives and fragrances. Use your Facebook status, your Twitter feed (with hashtag #fragrancefreeday) and your blogs to let everyone know “I am going Fragrance Free on August 11th because...”

In addition, SeaYu will be hosting a live Twitter chat from 12 – 1 pm EDT 
where you can get all of their fragrance questions and concerns addressed, with a panel of experts including:

* Quincy Yu, Founder of SeaYu and green living expert     
Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and author of the 
  upcoming book, The Uncomfortable Vet 
Dr. Stephen Ziman, organic chemist 

Knowledge, as they say, is power, so share yours and help empower your friends and family to take steps to protect themselves, their family, their pets and our planet! 

Fall Makeup: The Smokey Eye & Nude Lip Trend

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

There are lots of different trends going into Fall for makeup. The tops trends are the smokey eye with a nude lip, pale and understated eye with a berry stained lip and rainbow/bright shadows.  I think I'll skip that last one this year. Today I'll focus on the Smoky Eye and Nude Lip Look.  Stay tuned for other fall trends in upcoming posts.

I'm still savoring summer, but thought I'd share some Chic & Green Approved eye makeup and lip colors to give you the Smokey Eye/Nude Lip look for the upcoming season:

The Eyes Have It....with these natural eye products:
Black Tie mineral eyeshadow kit from Etsy's Beneficial Minerals has everything you need to the Smokey Eye of Fall 2011!

Everyday Minerals Starlit is a stunning shimmery gray with hint of sapphire for a smokey eye!

100% Pure Pure Gel Eyeliner in this rich blue black (Black Tea) will be the perfect accent to that smokey eye!

Looking for a naturally nude lip? Check out these great options:

Josie Maran Argan Lip Gloss in Compassion

Lip gloss from Etsy's Just Pure Minerals

Coral Reef stain from Christopher Drummond Beauty at Nature's Basin

Another Fabulous L'Bri Offer!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Last fall I told you about a line of aloe vera based skin care called L'Bri.  I reviewed the facial skin care products and still am a fan of the line.

I know how we all like a good deal, so I wanted to share their latest offer with you. During the month of August, each new L'Bri customer can log in  HERE  and receive a 7 pieces skin care sample set and receive a FULL-SIZE Smooth & Firm Eye Gel all for the cost of shipping & handling (just $6.75). In other words, for just $6.75, you'll get the 7 piece sample kit and the $28 eye gel (total value of $38).

I also wanted to give a shout out to the one woman I tell everyone about when it comes to purchasing L'Bri.  Her name is Kristin Carbone and she's a local friend and C & G reader. Click here to visit her Facebook page and here for her personal L'Bri site.

Please be sure to enter Kristin Carbone and CHIC & GREEN where it says "source name".

Storenvy Love: Earring Fever!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

All from artisans:

Made in Rochester: Earrings by Tanvi Asher of Excessary

Made with love by the Big Apple's Abby Horowitz Designs

Bold and gold earrings from Opaleen

These stunners are a bargain! By Bead Fancy

Magazine earrings from Love Life Originals

These earrings in my own shop remind me of milk glass!

How fresh! Enamel earrings from Silver Lines Jewelry

Review: 100% Pure Bubble Bath

Monday, August 1, 2011

I've reviewed several of my 100% Pure purchases before, as I really adore this line. I can always depend on the company to provide customers with high quality items free of the nasties. One of our family favorites has been the Mint Chocolate Chip Bubble Bath.  Click here to see my post comparing this product to one from Philosophy.

Our mint chip bubble bath is now gone and I was delighted when the company sent me a Yummy Ice Cream Strawberry Bubble Bath. Ben, especially, loves the smell of strawberries so I knew he'd like this one.

We just opened it Thursday night and it is such a hit that the boys have both requested it each night. I can always trust that the children's products from 100% Pure are going to be top notch and made with safe and natural ingredients.  This product is no exception.  Almost all scented bath products for children contain harmful artificial fragrances, which may contain toxins called phthalates. Not so with 100% Pure.

In this formula, the strawberry scent comes from extracts of organic strawberry, organic strawberry juice concentrate, and organic strawberry flavor.  Nothing more. The scent is a true strawberry scent and it is perfect for the summer. It gets my children's skin clean without using harsh sulfates and their skin is also let soft, soothed, and silky because of the aloe and chamomile.

A 12 ounce bottle retails for $12.  When it comes to children's products, I think that it is imperative for parents to use chemical free, natural products because of the long term health ramifications. I am always willing to spend a bit more on products that will not cause harm to my kids now or down the road. Avoiding toxins is important. They still want to smell nice and have the bubbles, but I want the safest things for them. Using 100% Pure children's bath products on them gives us all what we're looking for at bath time!

*Disclosure: I was sent this product for review. All opinions are my own based on my experience with each product.
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