Browsing Category

Products

Products

Choosing a Safe, Non-Toxic Surface for Backyard Swingset

August 15, 2018

One of the biggest and most exciting days for our kids this summer was the day we built our new swing set. Since they’re older (almost five and three), we wanted a swing set that could grow with them for the next several years. Choosing a new swing set was relatively easy considering we knew what we wanted. The hard part? Choosing a surface to go under the new swing set.

There are several playgrounds in our area with a wide range of surfaces. My least favorites include: sand (mostly because they serve as raccoons, cats and other animals litter box…I will take a pass on the parasitic germs!), pea gravel (as my youngest likes to throw it and they both constantly complain about getting the pebbles in their shoes), and wood chips (for no other reason than I simply don’t prefer wood chips as a play surface). My favorite used to be rubber-based surfaces. However, after learning about the increasing concerns of the toxic chemicals emitted from both recycled tire rubber surfaces and new rubber/synthetic material surfaces, I knew I needed another option.

Thankfully, I came across Jelly Bean Rubber Mulch. It is the only 100% non-tire rubber mulch on the market made from non-toxic, latex-free rubber tiles. Thus, there are zero toxic chemicals or VOCs my children are inhaling during playtime. Moreover, there is no color leaching as it contains the natural color of the rubber, and it has the best test data in the industry to show it’s the safest playground rubber mulch for falls. In addition, the durability and warranty is better than any other surface option.

As for installation, we simply dug 4-inches down and leveled. We applied a mesh fabric on top of the dirt, and poured the rubber mulch via wheel barrel to fill the space with a 3-4 inch depth. It was fairly simple. The jelly bean mulch pieces are slightly smaller than I expected, but so far, we are incredibly happy with it.

Pre-installation

 

Though it may not be the most esthetically-pleasing option (although I much prefer the look of this over wood chips or sand), the most important thing to me is ensuring a safe and non-toxic play environment for my kids. My wish is that more schools, churches, and parks remove their toxic rubber surfaces and replace with non-toxic options!

 

          

 

 

 

Products

Swapping Out My Toxic Cosmetics

January 4, 2018


As I stated in my previous post, my main New Year’s Resolution from last year consisted of making our home as non-toxic and eco-friendly as possible. I swapped mattresses, cleaning products, personal care products, and most recently, I tackled my cosmetics. Yes, it was incredibly sad to say goodbye to my beloved mascara that added a whole new dimension to my lashes, and to my favorite lipstick that made my lips pop like no other. However, I’m happy to say that the transition has been better than I anticipated, as I’ve found some wonderful non-toxic alternatives.

On average, our bodies absorb seven pounds of makeup each year. This combined with the fact that the United States only bans 11 harmful and toxic ingredients in cosmetics, while Europe bans over 1,300, is very alarming! (A big thumbs up to you, Europe!) Clearly, if you’re an American, those seven pounds are most likely incredibly toxic. Sadly, the FDA, under current law, does NOT require cosmetics companies to perform safety assessments on their products. (Thank goodness for the EWG.org, an environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, that conducts product toxicity-level testing and shares results with the general public.)

U.S. researchers report that a majority of the ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products are mainly comprised of synthetic chemicals that are skin irritants, skin penetrators, endocrine disrupters and carcinogenic. I won’t go into detail about the specifics of these, but there are several websites that break down the toxic ingredients and how they are harmful to our health, like  safecosmetics.org.

Over the past six months, I have swapped most of my regular makeup products for natural versions. I’ve used the EWG.org website to check the toxicity levels of each product. (The EWG rates products from 0-10, with “0” being not toxic to “10” being highly toxic.) It’s been a bit of trial and error, but overall, I’m very happy with my current makeup products, especially knowing I’m not smearing harmful chemicals on my skin and into my bloodstream. Below are some of my favorite nontoxic makeup products…

 

  • W3LL People Bio Brightener Invisible Powder – I LOVE this stuff! You can find it on target.com or detoxmarket.com, (among other places). It has the best possible rating from the EWG with ZERO toxic or harmful ingredients. 
  • RMS “Un” Cover-up – This is my daily concealer/foundation. I apply it where needed and use the Bio Brightener directly after. It’s light-weight and effective, and RMS has a “1” rating at EWG. This can be found at The Detox Market, (although I’ve seen it at sephora.com and lots of other websites).
  • W3LL People Bio Bronzer Stick – I just purchased this and have only used it a couple of times, but so far, I am a fan. Like the Bio Brightener Powder, the bronzer also received the best rating at the EWG. I purchased mine at pharmaca.com. They also have this at detoxmarket.com.
  • Lily Lolo Mascara and Laid Bare Eye Palette – Even though they are not found on the EWG website (as they have yet to be tested), they seem to be wonderful products without any toxic ingredients. I buy mine at petitevour.com. (They also have these at several other websites…Petite Four is the cheapest I’ve come across.) 
  • bareMinerals Blush – The bareMinerals Blush and Primer both tested well at EWG with a “1” rating. (However, my former bareMinerals powder and brightener both scored poorly with a “7” and “4”-rating.) I’ve been using this blush for years and was pleasantly surprised that I could continue using it with the good EWG rating.
  • Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream – This cream is incredibly light-weight and works as a great primer. I use the tinted option and absolutely LOVE the way it looks and feels. I buy this at petitevour.com.
  • Kjaer Weis – I’ve tried their eye shadow and mascara and love them. Kjaer Weis is truly one of the more luxurious organic makeup lines out there. They are a bit pricey, but well worth the extra $. Sadly, they have not been tested by the EWG, but I’m hoping they do soon! I buy mine at integritybotanicals.com.
  • Skin Owl Eye+ – This is another product of which I am a huge fan (and sadly, it too isn’t on the EWG but hopefully soon). It’s a nourishing and youth stimulating eye concentrate that I apply every morning and evening under my eyes. I buy mine at The Detox Market (detoxmarket.com) or biggiestore.com.

Please let me know if you have found a healthy makeup line that you love. I’m always game for trying out new products, particularly those rated on the EWG or highly recommended by a place like the Detox Market who takes great pride in ONLY promoting and selling completely non-toxic, safe products. It’s impossible to avoid every single synthetic chemical, but you can do your part in limiting the amount of toxins your body is exposed to. I highly recommend checking out the https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.Wk5xrCOZNE4 to research toxic chemicals that could be in your cosmetic and personal care products. And if you happen to live in Europe, lucky you!

 

 

Products

Our Search For A Non Toxic, Organic Mattress

November 29, 2017

One of my New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of the year was to make our home as non toxic and eco-friendly as possible. I admit it. I’m a sucker for those articles that pop up on your Yahoo! homepage that scare the living daylights out of you by discussing the typical toxicity levels of homes and the impact of this on our health. Though I am a big believer of everything in moderation, I wanted to start this non-toxic reboot mission in an area that we would perhaps benefit from the most. For me, a good night of sleep is one of my top priorities. Thus, first on my plan of attack? New mattresses.

Let me preface this by saying, I do not claim to be an expert in the mattress field. Nor do I intend to make this seem like a research paper. The information below is merely brief summaries of what I’ve learned in the last six months of reading online and talking to countless mattress companies.

First off, I found it to be down right scary learning about conventional mattresses (including ALL of the mattresses we had in our home). Most conventional mattresses are made of toxic materials and chemicals like petroleum-based polyester, formaldehyde, polyurethane, flame retardant chemicals like boric acid, and typically covered in PVC vinyl. Essentially, this means your mattress is releasing toxic fumes over time that not only you breathe in to cause allergies, long-term diseases, and respiratory problems, but they can also get into our body tissues. (They’ve even been known to show up in pregnant women’s placental tissue!) No bueno!

I literally spent six months researching and testing mattresses before narrowing our option down to the one we eventually chose. I educated myself about the many different kinds of mattresses, what to look for in finding an organic and non-toxic option, which materials and chemicals to steer away from, which certifications are best and what they mean, and like with any big purchase, we read TONS of reviews. After all, we spend a third of our lives on our bed…why not take your time and ensure you’re making the best decision, right?

In terms of our needs and wants, we decided the following were most important to us:

  • Organic, eco-friendly
  • Comfort level
  • Natural latex (as it is much better for your body long-term compared to a coil mattress)
  • Meets certifications (i.e. GOLS, GOTS, GreenGuard, certiPUR, etc.)

The below mattress companies are those that met our ‘green’ and healthy criteria. All are awesome companies that offer mattresses made of natural latex, organic wool, and/or organic cotton, AND they’re all made in the USA.:) It’s important to know that the reason these beds do not need to use fire retardant chemicals is because of their organic wool material. Wool acts as a natural fire retardant. (The second great thing about wool is that it also works as a heat regulator. It helps keep you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cold.)

  • Nest Bedding
  • Plushbeds
  • Zenhaven
  • Sleep On Latex
  • White Lotus
  • Brentwood – (Note: The Ojai Mattress is their only coil-free mattress option.)

Runner Up: Avocado Mattress. I LOVE this company, however, the only reason we did not test out their mattress was simply because they do not offer coil-free mattresses. They have pocketed support coils rather than open coils, which is good, but nonetheless, we wanted coil-free. If coils aren’t an issue for you, this is a great company!

OUR WINNER:  Nest Bedding!


We ended up going with their Q3 Mattress and the BKB mattresses for our children. Here are some of the main reasons why we chose Nest and what makes their mattresses so amazing:

  • CERTIFICATIONS. The Q3 Latex is both GOLS and GOTS certified. (Nest only uses materials that have a third party certification whether it’s foam or latex.)
  • COMFORT. Both the Q3 Latex and BKB mattresses are incredibly comfortable! Upon our first time lying on a Q3 in the showroom, my hubby and I looked at each and simultaneously said, “This is the one.”
  • AFFORDABILITY. Both mattresses were very affordable for organic, non toxic mattresses with proper certifications. The BKB mattress starts at $299 and Q3 starts at $999. (Note: We did choose the Alexander Signature Cooling Topper to go on top of our Q3 which runs at $159.)
  • SHOWROOMS. They have a showroom here in Los Angeles (along with ten other cities around the country) which made testing out the mattress easy and convenient.
  • ALLERGY OPTIONS. Nest provides the option to have an Oeko Tex certified blended latex mattress for those with latex allergies.
  • FAMILY OWNED. Being factory direct and family owned, you can get higher quality for less than major brands with better warranties and better service.

I’m happy to report that after a month of use, we are still in love with our Nest Q3 Mattress. We’ve been getting some of our best sleep ever! It has met and surpassed all of our expectations, and we highly recommend it as a fantastic option for a high quality, affordable, non toxic, organic mattress.

Birthdays Products

2nd Birthday “Rock” Party

October 20, 2017

After fixing some website issues, I am finally back up and running! HOORAY! With that said, I am now able to post some of my saved posts from the last six months. I’m starting out with my favorite…Anders’ 2nd Birthday “Rock” Party!

I don’t know what it is about rocks, but my Anders is OBSESSED! Small, big, rough, smooth, ugly, pretty…it doesn’t matter what they look like, he loves them all! Thus, when I was trying to figure out a theme for his 2nd birthday, I asked my husband, “Why don’t we throw him a rock party?” I knew it sounded strange, but I couldn’t imagine him loving anything more than a party centered around his passion for rocks.

Since the party-goers consisted of his fellow two-year old music class pals and their siblings, we kept the rock activities very little-kid-friendly. We had large bins filled with cereal in the shape of small pebbles/rocks and provided small shovels to scoop the ‘rocks’ into little dump trucks and buckets. We also had a rock painting table which seemed to be the favorite among the older siblings. In lieu of gifts, we asked everyone to bring a cool rock. The actual invitation read, “In place of gifts, please bring a rock of any shape, size or color. Whether it’s from your backyard or off the side of the road, anything will do!” Needless to say, Anders LOVED his new rock additions to his collection. Some of the gifted rocks were quite impressive! He received some awesome geodes, a large rock with his name painted on top, and one that was bedazzled. Who knew an actual rock party involving rock-gift-giving could be so cool?!

A big thank you to our photographer Ashley Burns for the awesome photos! And thank you to Stephen Joseph Gifts and Hape Toys for the great party favors, as well as our beloved Polkatots for the AMAZING cupcake cake (with edible rocks)! And I can’t forget my son AJ who helped his mama decorate the night before and make the Oreo dirt cups…he loved putting the gummy worms and mini dump trucks on top of the “dirt” topping. This party theme truly “rocked.”:)

Pics below by Ashley Burns.

 

Our simple table decorations of cheap work hats, cones and Hape dump trucks.

 

Our lovely street-table runner made out of construction paper.

 

Our party favors were these adorable Stephen Joseph activity books and pull-string backpacks. Dump truck-theme for the boys and a pink garden/owl-theme for the girls.

 

Polkatots never disappoints! How awesome is this dump truck cupcake cake with edible rocks?!?

 

Rock painting table.

 

The pebble/rock table (i.e. Cheerios and the healthy version of Cocoa Puffs) with small scoops.

 

Our awesome Oreo ‘Dirt’ Cups, which was one of my personal favorites as a kid. AJ took great pride in decorating them with the worms and dump trucks.

 

Dessert table consisting of Polkatots cupcake cake, two cakes (red velvet and strawberry), and “dirt” pudding cups.

 

 



 

 

 

Products

The Cutest Personalized Gift Wrap

April 28, 2016

IMG_9510-3

I just wanted to share a new awesome find that I am absolutely in LOVE with! Recently, I was introduced to Stardust Prints at the Los Angeles SpringFest a couple of weeks ago. They had used a photo of my boys from my Instagram and gave me a roll of their personalized gift wrapping paper. Since then, I have ordered several more as they have some ADORABLE themes. (I’m beyond excited to utilize them for Christmas!)

Here’s how it works. Simply, log on to their website at stardustprints.com, pick from one of their charming designs, upload a photo (of you, your child, your pet, family, etc.) from your computer, Instagram or Facebook, select the quantity, and in a week you have the cutest personalized gift wrap (with free shipping!).  The ‘Center of the Universe,’ ‘Fairy Dust,’ and ‘Whoos Watching Over Me’ themes are my favorite. I am using the Center of the Universe gift wrap (shown above) for some Mother’s Day gifts. Clearly, my mom and mother-in-law are going to ADORE them! After all, don’t all grandparents love getting anything that is adorned with their grandchildren’s photo?

(NOTE:  Stardust Prints did not ask me to blog about them…I just love their product so much and wanted to spread the word!)

Products

Favorite 2015 Baby & Toddler Products

December 17, 2015

Earlier this month, we had the great pleasure of attending the 2015 Secret Santa’s Workshop here in Los Angeles. It was a fun family day of photos with Santa, great activities for the kiddos, delicious food, learning about amazing new products, and supporting a great charity–the L.A. Family Housing. Bill Horn and Scout Masterson of Marque Communications did a phenomenal job putting on such an enjoyable and entertaining event! We’ve had some time to try out some of the amazing products we brought home that day. (It was an early Christmas for the Ribeiro family!) I wanted to share some of my favorites with you…

  1.  Ju-Ju-Be Monarch Diaper Bag. Prior to my new Ju-Ju-Be “The Monarch” Diaper Bag, my previous bags were never quite large enough for everything I needed, especially for two little ones. With my Ju-Ju-Be bag, I can fit everything I need with ease. Additionally, the special features truly make this the ultimate diaper bag. To name a few, it contains a memory foam changing pad, picture pocket to keep photos handy (or in my case, I’ve been currently putting the hard copies of Santa photos in there or polaroids from birthday parties), exterior insulated bottle packets, color-coded tabs to designate a pocket to each child, crumb drains, quiet magnets (no loud velcro!), a super-organized mommy pocket that is big enough to fit all of my needs, and it’s machine washable. Best. Diaper. Bag. Ever. Period.

Ju-Ju-Be The Monarch - Be Prepared

  1. Chatbooks. My son AJ is constantly trying to take my phone to look at photos of him and his siblings. Now he is perfectly happy taking one of our Chatbooks and flipping through it to see all of Daddy and Mommy’s Instagram photos in the past year. Essentially, Chatbooks is an easy and affordable way to keep your Instagram, Facebook or any phone photos in a book. Aside from that, they are great little entertainment books to add to the coffee table! Best yet, they’re only $8/per book!

IMG_9818

  1. 4moms Origami Stroller & High Chair. Even though my favorite strollers have long been the Uppababy Vista and the Orbit (both for different reasons), there’s a new one that I am in absolutely in LOVE with! The Origami from 4moms opens and closes at the touch of a button. Yes, you read it right…you simply push a button! How much better could it get than that!? (My husband’s jaw literally dropped to the floor when he saw it work). But the impressive features don’t end there! The Origami includes a LCD dashboard (with thermometer, speedometer and trip odometers), four-wheel suspension, self-charging generators in the wheels, and pathway lights. It’s like a stroller straight out of an episode of The Jetson’s. Their highchair is just as revolutionary. The 4moms High Chair alleviates all of the challenges of most highchairs –or at least the ones that I’ve ever used. It has a seat insert (making it incredibly easy to clean), adjustable height with three different settings, magnetic tray top (making it easy to slide on and helps keep bowls in place minimizing a mess), and a removable tray liner that is dishwasher safe. Can you say “dream highchair?”

4moms Origami blue   Screen-Shot-2015-10-16-at-5.41.01-PM

  1. Mini2Go Micro Scooter. The Mini2Go is a rido-on that converts to a stand-up three-wheel scooter with a T-bar. It’s an indoor/outdoor ride as it has non-marking wheels. (Hallelujah!) In addition, while it’s in the ride-on phase, there is a drawer that slides in so that your toddler can put toys inside to bring along on a ride. AJ is on this day in and day out right now.

mini2go_stage1_1

  1. Joovy Boob Baby Bottle. My 7-month old has been a bit of a stinker when it comes to taking a bottle. Whether it’s water or breastmilk in a bottle, it doesn’t matter to him. He ALWAYS prefers being nursed and will hold off for the ‘good stuff,’ even if it leaves him hungry. (It’s never fun when you’re on date night with the hubs or at an event and you get a text from the sitter saying “Anders won’t take his bottle…again.”) Since using the Boob Baby Bottle, Anders has been drinking from the bottle with no issues or fussing. AMAZING! I realize all babies are different with different preferences for bottles, but this has been a godsend for us! The nipple is designed to simulate natural breastfeeding. In addition, it keeps liquids at the desired temperature for longer periods of time with an insulator in the bottle. Very cool!

00258_PPSU_5oz_Package

Some of my other favorites from the event: Orbit Baby Stroller (we’ve had ours for over a year now and love, love, LOVE it! The ease of this stroller with the carseat for Anders, and the protective covering on the handle bar for an ipad is awesome!), Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier, Modern Burlap (these swaddles/blankets have the BEST designs…my favorite is the world map design), Build-A-Bear (the holiday season reindeers they have are utterly adorable), Joovy’s Spoon Walker (Anders personal favorite), and Weangreen’s Modern Glass Storage (these are amazing recyclable material-glass baby food/whole family containers with the best lids ever)! Please let me know if there are any new products from this year that you love. I’m always intrigued with new baby products!