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My Healthy, Non-Toxic Nursery

October 24, 2019

Have you wondered if creating a non-toxic environment for your baby is worth the extra money and effort? Is it really necessary to spend the time browsing “GREENGUARD” or “Low-VOC?” Does it really matter if I find a cuter and cheaper crib that happens to be made in Asia?

Yes! It really matters!

I remember with my first baby, checking whether my nursery had products with harmful chemicals wasn’t even on my radar. I had new paint, new carpet, new mattress, adorable bedding, the cutest new crib furniture set…all coming together to produce an extra strength new-furniture/chemical/formaldehyde odor. Though I had good intentions, the amount of toxic chemicals I exposed my baby to was probably off the charts! (Talk about a baby in need of a baby-sized chemical respirator mask!) 

Fast-forward to two babies later and a bout with black mold that left our entire family incredibly sick and out of our home for nine months, I understand just how important a greener and cleaner home is to create and maintain. Our sicknesses, caused by the mold, dramatically improved when I did a complete non-toxic reboot to our home and lifestyle. Even now with all of us recovered, it’s impossible for me to ignore the information I’ve learned about the importance in shielding ourselves, especially children, from toxic exposures in the home whenever possible. Thus, by no surprise, when I became pregnant with baby #3, my top priority was creating a non-toxic nursery. Yes, it took additional effort and money, but for me it was worth every late night spent on my computer emailing my questions and concerns to various companies. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how it all came together for Ava’s travel-themed nursery. Below are the products that made the final cut…

Crib Furniture: Romina

When deciding on our crib furniture, I wanted to find a set that my baby girl could grow with, (i.e. one that turns into a toddler and full bed). As for my criteria, I wanted Greenguard Gold certified furniture, (as products with this meet the strictest standards for indoor air quality and chemical composition). In addition, I looked for furniture made of solid wood, meaning the furniture does not contain harmful glues, veneers, chemicals, and formaldehyde. Lastly, I only considered furniture made outside of Asia as it’s been heavily reported that furniture in Asia often times contains lead. Clearly, lead and babies do not mix!

I found three companies that fit my above criteria, including Romina (made in Romania), Natart Juvenile (made in Canada), and Green Cradle (made in USA). All three make exceptional cribs, but I felt Romina stood a notch above the rest. I am convinced that no other furniture brand matches Romina in terms of health, safety, and style. With several gorgeous designs to choose from, we went with their Imperio Crib in white, the matching three drawer dresser and nightstand. Yes, these non toxic crib options are pricey, but for me, knowing I’m getting something non-toxic AND bedroom furniture to last my daughter a long time (18 years would be nice) makes it well worth the cost. My favorite features:

• Their finishes have an organic vegetable based coloring agent and are either water-based or oil-based. (Our white paint is a water-based finish with a 10-step multi-layered application process.) 

• Their ENTIRE product line, not just cribs but everything, is Greenguard Gold certified. 

• Glues are tree sap based organic.

• No VOCs or formaldehyde (nor any toxic fumes). 

• 100% solid beechwood. (I discovered some companies that claim to use solid wood may also use wood veneers in their products, which takes some digging to figure out.)

• Most impressive safety features (i.e. baby proof gliding drawers, anti-tilting hardware, plastic safety triggers for removing drawers, etc.).

Romina is truly the best in the biz. Their health standards are as good as gets. They make high-quality products that your child can grow with for many years to come. Their safety features are phenomenal. And their designs are gorgeous! From the country known for Dracula, medieval fortresses, salt mines, and women’s gymnastics, Romania should also be known for making the best crib furniture on the planet.

Glider: Como by Monte Design

When searching for a new glider, other than being non-toxic, my main concern was comfort and smoothness when gliding. My old glider had an annoying clicking sound and a quasi-jerky motion that both of my boys never liked being rocked in as babies. When my research and multiple reviews kept steering me to Monte Design, I decided to go with their Como Glider with a steel base. Words cannot express how happy I am with this gem, as it’s the first time I’ve experienced a baby who loves being rocked. On top of that, it’s sharp! I love their designs and quality materials. Be sure to check out their website as they have some fabulous designs and options. Based in Canada, this amazing company has gliders with the following features:

• Uses only high-density foam, free of chemical flame retardants with CertiPUR-US certification.

• Their Italian-made fabric is untreated and natural. (I chose their natural cotton/linen line.) 

• There is no noise associated with the gliding mechanism, (hallelujah!). It moves very smoothly overtop of the stainless steel base and swivels 360 degrees. 

• All glues used are water-based, biodegradable, and made in Europe.

Note: These Gliders are LEED, rather than Greenguard certified, as all the wood meets the requirements of the LEED Rating System for wood adhesives (no urea formaldehyde added), and the glue used in the frame construction is the water-based kind mentioned above. 

Runner-ups: Dutailier (also made in Canada with similar certifications). I like Babyletto, but since they are made in Asia (Tawian), I shy away from products made there simply based on the known lead levels.

Bassinet: Rockwell by Monte Design

Also from Monte Design, I went with their bassinet after initially learning about it when I was researching gliders. Their Rockwell Bassinet caught my eye immediately as it is a BEAUTY! My baby girl has slept in this for four months now and she truly sleeps like a baby in it…so clearly she loves it too! More over, the sleek, modern/contemporary design is lovely! My favorite features:

• Comes with a waterproof mattress, which passes all US, Canadian, and European Safety standards.

• It’s super quick and easy assembly.

• Foam is free of any flame retardant chemicals and CertiPUR-US certified.

• Fabric (made in Italy) is Oeko-Tex Certified.

• Did I mention it’s absolutely beautiful??

Crib Mattress: Nest Bedding

Considering ALL of our mattresses in our home are from Nest Bedding (the Ribeiro’s are their biggest fans…check out my blog about them here), it’s no surprise that I went with Nest for our crib needs. Hands-down, the best mattresses EVER! Like all of their other mattresses, the crib mattress does not disappoint. My favorite features:

• Made of GOTS Certified 100% Natural Premium Sheep Wool and GOTS certified organic cotton lining.

• Breathable.

• Contains natural coconut coir to evenly distribute weight.

• Antibacterial and water resistant.

• Allows natural temperature regulation and cooling.

• Zero pesticides and zero toxins.

In other words, it’s top-notch and one of the best crib mattresses on the market. Compared to other mattresses with similar certifications, it is more affordable at $299. (Naturepedic Quilted Deluxe is $399 and the Soaring Heart Organic Mattress is $418.) And if it’s time for a new mattress in your room, I HIGHLY consider their mattresses for an affordable, non-toxic, and comfortable option! (Note: Their BKB – Big Kid’s Bed is equally amazing and starts at $299 for a twin size. We have these in my boys’ room and LOVE them!)

Paint: Benjamin Moore Natura

Zero-VOC paints can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce toxic exposure to your little ones, often times more than 90% in comparison to low-VOC or regular VOC paints. Since I had painted the kids’ rooms last year with a zero-VOC paint (Benjamin Moore Natura), I decided to leave the light grey color. Other VOC-free paints include: AFM Safecoat, ECOS Paints, Sherwin-Williams Harmony, Lullaby Paints, Earthpaint, Colorhouse, and Valspar Zero VOC. 


I’ve been using FLOR carpet tiles for years, as all of our bedrooms and living room have these. For the nursery, I went with the Made You Look in Bone. I am obsessed with them! Since I have littles, I’m constantly finding stains on my rugs. Thankfully, I never have to sweat it since I can easily wash or replace tiles if need be. My favorite aspects of FLOR carpet tile rugs are:

• Sustainable, non-toxic, hypoallergenic and meet or exceed the Carpet & Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus standards for VOC emissions.

• Their commitment to clean manufacturing is commendable.

• Simple installation with non-toxic adhesive dots that stick to the bottom of the carpet squares. (No worries…they do not damage your floors!).

Tip: They usually have good sales throughout the year. If it’s not a rush, wait for the sale! Also, if money is no object, Curran is an amazing option! Their wool Wethersfield rug looks stunning! Their rugs are hand-loomed, 100% untreated wool. It’s safe, natural, and eco-friendly.

Monitor: D-Link HD

Three years ago, I had no idea that EMFs were the reason for my sleeping issues. Once we had our bedroom mitigated of EMFs, I instantly slept like a baby…no joke! Thus, after learning about EMFs, I knew I wanted a low-EMF option for a baby monitor. After all, baby monitors that use DECT or FHSS use the same electromagnetic frequencies that microwaves, Wi-Fi routers, and cordless phones use. All of these contain high levels of radiation (research has shown that digital baby monitors placed one meter away from a baby’s crib emit similar radiation levels of cell phone towers 150 meters away). INSANE! This level of radiation is simply BAD for babies (and adults, it’s just amplified in little ones) as it impacts their brain development, sleep (and Lord knows how much we want and need our babies to sleep!), weakens immune system, and disrupts their reproductive system. Why do they make it so dang hard to keep our little ones, let alone ourselves, healthy???

The monitor we chose is the D-Link HD Wi-Fi Camera with Remote Viewing (DCS-2132L). It’s one of the few you can hook up to an Ethernet hookup (our TVs and computers are hooked up this way in our home) which means no Wi-Fi and no harmful EMF emissions. (Note: You are easily able to disable the Wi-Fi on the device.)

As for all of the travel theme wall decor, I purchased everything on Etsy. My organic bedding and changing pads were ordered on Amazon. And as for an air purifier, I’m using the brand I have in all of my bedrooms, IQAir ProHealth Series, and I made my own plant wall with air-purifying plants.

Overall, it’s clearly more expensive and timely to create a healthy, non-toxic nursery, but the benefits are great and many. These tiny humans need to live a long time and by helping their bodies develop in a healthy way without any negative disruptions from VOCs, chemicals, and other various toxins, they have a better shot at better heath. Even if you can make a few changes to reduce the toxicity levels in your child’s nursery, every little bit makes a difference! Even though our black mold experience was a nightmare, especially considering how sick we all got, I view it as a blessing in disguise as it pushed me to educate myself about this area of our lives that we often overlook. So when you start creating a nursery or even make a few changes to your existing one or your own bedroom, do pay attention to those labels like “Greenguard” or “Solid Wood.” It makes a difference!


Mattress Review Update

January 30, 2019

Last year, I went on a mission to find a quality, non-toxic mattress with a strict criteria. It took me six months to research online, speak to mattress companies, and actually test mattresses. It was a long and exhausting process, but I was able to narrow our options down to a clear ‘winner.’ Nest Bedding came out on top for us with flying colors. (You can read about how we chose Nest Bedding for our mattress needs at the link below.)

After using the mattresses for over a year now, I wanted to provide a review update as I’ve had several inquiries asking whether we still like our Nest Bedding mattresses.

First, I’m proud to say that the Q3 we have in our master bedroom (although now it’s called the Hybrid Organic Latex), is still allowing us to get our best sleep ever! When my husband hurt his back and temporarily needed the mattress more firm, we simply took off our foam topper and it did the trick. Now that he’s better, we have the topper back on, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s honestly, hands down, the best mattress we’ve ever owned. (And a fraction of the cost to what we paid for our previous fancy, electric mattress.)

Hybrid Organic Latex

As for the kids room, they both have the BKB mattresses, and I’m equally as in love with these. When my husband and I lay down with the kids at bed time, even though it’s a different type of mattress, it’s so insanely comfortable. The kids sleep so well and we’ve never had any complaints from them. For the price of $299, it’s seriously the best deal for a non-toxic, comfortable, and GOLS and GOTS certified mattress.

BKB Kids Mattress

After ‘schooling’ myself about how important it is to have GOLS and GOTS certified, non-toxic mattresses, we decided to gift a couple of family members (suffering from sleep problems) new mattresses for Christmas. We bought the Signature Alexander Series mattress for them, with is more of a foam mattress but without the sink-into-the-bed feeling. When we tested it in their showroom, we had no idea it was a foam bed. Typically, I’m not a foam fan, but this bed has amazing support and a similar bounce to that of a traditional innerspring mattress. (Note: If you read my previous blog about how we chose Nest Bedding mattresses, you’ll see why we don’t use mattress with coil springs.) Needless to say, our family members said they’ve never had more comfortable mattresses and have been “sleeping their best sleep.” We also gifted them the Easy Breather Natural Pillows (made from Oeko Tex Certified Shredded Latex) from Nest Bedding. We have these as well, and they are unlike any pillow we’ve ever owned. They are adjustable as well, meaning you can make them more soft or firm to meet your preference.

Easy Breather Natural Pillow

In addition to the mattress and pillows, we also purchased our lucky family members with the Brushed Microfiber Luxury Sheet Sets for Christmas. We have the Organic Cotton Sheet Set, but after feeling the microfiber in their store, I honestly was just as impressed. Better yet, they are only $34.99. Don’t get me wrong, their Egyptian Cotton and Luxury Bamboo Sheet sets feel UNBELIEVABLE, but I would be more than happy sleeping on the Microfiber Luxury Set.

I recently bought my husband a couple of Nest Bedding’s new Easy Breather Side Sleeper Pillows. These are are truly the best design and provide great functionality for side sleepers! My husband LOVES them! And I’m using one in place of my pregnancy side sleeper pillow because these are that much more comfortable. (And, like the regular Easy Breather, it’s adjustable to fit your comfort level.) They run at $119 each.

Easy Breather Side Sleeper

It’s amazing when you spend the time to do your own research and invest in your sleep, how much of a game-changer it can be. We spend more of our lifetime in our beds than anywhere else. It makes sense to make our sleeping environment as comfortable and healthy as possible for our own well-being. We can’t thank Nest Bedding enough for finally helping us achieve the best sleep of our lives. I still HIGHLY recommend them for your mattress or bedding needs.


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.