10 Amazing Uses for Castile Soap

Are you cupboards overflowing with bottles and jars of cleaners, soaps and other concoctions?  Why not replace just about everything with one amazing bottle?  Yup, Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap definitely is miraculous!  I don't know why, but I only recently made the switch and I can't believe the never ending uses for this soap!
Citrus Orange Castile Liquid Soap - 32 oz.
Castile Soap is made from  plant oils and it's gentle on you and the environment because it's free from harsh cleansers, artificial foaming agents, petrochemicals or chemical anti-bacterial agents.  And since liquid Castile Soaps are made from plants, they're vegan and also biodegradable. So ya, it's pretty amazing stuff and you'll be surprised by what you can replace in your house with just one bottle of this magic soap!

10 Amazing Uses for Castile Soap

  1. Body Wash - a little goes a long way.  I keep a container of diluted version in the shower and it lathers wonderfully; leaving my skin clean & soft.
  2. Car Wash - it leaves a great shine from hood to trunk.
  3. Dog Wash - yup, good for your fur babies too!
  4. Dish Detergent - again, a great cleaner for your after dinner messes
  5. Hand Soap - fill up your old foaming hand soap bottles with a diluted version and you'll be amazed by this all natural cleanser.
  6. Shampoo - yes, I've used it head to toe and it works on all your parts!
  7. Multi-purpose Cleaner - again, dilute a bit of this fab soap and you can clean just about anything
  8. Fruit & Veggie Wash - add a drop or two into a full sink and get those veggies clean!
  9. Baby Wash - yes it's even gentile enough to use on your kids. Dr. Bronner's does make a kids version that's unscented, but my girls do just fine with the citrus.
  10. Bug Spray - so you can clean just about anything, but you can also use it to get rid of pests in your garden.
If those aren't enough reasons to get you to make a switch (or to at least try) Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, then how about the fact that it's Fair Trade, Non-GMO & not tested on animals! Oh yeah, did I mention that it's also a great price! Way cheaper than all those other bottles under your sink!

Have you got a favourite Castile Soap use? Share it here! I'm always on the look out for more ways to use this incredible soap!

Disclaimer: Big props to Dr. Bronner's for their amazing soap! I am not affiliated with Dr. Bronner's & I wasn't compensated for this post.  I just really love their soap!

5 -Day Cleanse Results & Revelations

Well, it's official....the cleanse is over.  And surprisingly enough I'm not running off to stuff my face full of food.  In fact, I'm kind of sad.  The 5-day juice cleanse from The Pulp & Press Juice Co. took my mind off food almost completely.  Even as I'm busy baking holiday treats today, I'm still not terribly interested in food. I will definitely miss having all my meals planned out for me.  Now I have to stock the fridge and start figuring out what I'm going to eat! Luckily, The Pulp & Press Juice Co. has given me a post-cleanse menu to ease back into eating.
But I'm sure you're dying to know my overall opinion and my results from my juice cleanse.  For anyone just checking out this post, I haven't had anything but cold-pressed, raw, organic juice from The Pulp & Press Juice Co., water and herbal tea for the past 5 days.

So here it goes:
5 -Day Cleanse Results & Revelations
  1. I'm stronger than I thought.  I admit there was part of me that didn't think I'd make it through the 5 days without food. I'm still surprised that I made it through.
  2. Stay positive and keep your eyes on the prize.  Definitely in moments of weakness, while watching my family enjoy the meal I made for them, remaining positive was a life saver to achieving my goal and staying strong no matter how good their food looked and smelled.
  3.  I've lost a few pounds while doing the cleanse.  5.2lbs to be exact, but who's counting?  It wasn't my objective to lose weight, but I am definitely happy about the result.
  4. My skin is softer, smoother and more even.  I am going to chalk this up to keeping super hydrated plus ingesting tons of amazing vitamins, nutrients and enzymes from the juice.
  5. I'm happier.  Yup, you heard me right.  Who knew not eating for 5 days could improve your mood?  My husband even commented yesterday that I looked happier and more refreshed. Thank you juice!
  6. The worst thing I experienced was caffeine withdrawal during the pre-cleanse preparation.  This was a whopping wicked headache that lasted for 2 days.  But all is well now, thankfully.
  7. I can survive without a morning coffee.  Who knew I could get through my day without caffeine?
  8. In my opinion the key to completing this type of cleanse is proper preparation, hydration, support and dedication and you'll enjoy lots of wonderful health benefits in the process.
So overall, I'm very happy with all aspects of the cleanse.  From the juices themselves (which are so freakin' delicious), to the physical and emotional changes and to the support and understanding from The Pulp & Press Juice Co., this entire experience has been amazing.  

I encourage you to do some research and learn how you can incorporate juicing into your life.  Maybe it's just adding one into your daily routine or doing a full out cleanse. Either way it's good for you in so many ways.  I could totally see doing this before your tropical vacation or maybe even your wedding day!  Who wouldn't want to be happier, brighter and even a little lighter before the big day?

Remember, you can sign up to do the Community Group Cleanse in the New Year with The Pulp & Press Juice Co. Not quite there yet? I highly recommend watching the film Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead by Joe Cross.  You might just end up loving the juice! I know I did!

  post signature 
Disclaimer: I was provided this product  free of charge from The Pulp & Press Juice Co.  for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Meadow Guard - All-Natural Odour-Fighting, Immune-Boosting Deodorant

You may remember from previous posts that I have banished all forms of deodorant and antiperspirant from our homestead unless it's something I made myself.  Not only are they expensive, but they are full of nasty chemicals and toxins that have been linked to all kinds of different ailments including cancer.

Is your Deodorant Toxic??

But recently I decided to give From the Meadow's Meadow Guard a try.  I do make my own deodorant, but I wanted to see what else was out there.  And also, my husband isn't quite satisfied with the odour-busting abilities of my homemade concoction.  It's fine for me, but he works a very physically demanding job and needs something that is going to keep him smelling fresh all day.

So bring on the Meadow Guard!

It is all natural and full of all kinds of odour-fighting and immune-boosting herbs and plants.  Trade in the toxic chemicals for things like:
  • Fennel - which has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties
  • Feverfew - which helps to reduce & prevent headaches and supports digestive health
  • Anise - helps move mucus from the lungs and relieves cramps and spasms, especially when these symptoms are tied to bronchitis, when there is an incessant cough, or specifically for whooping cough.  
  • Rosemary - stimulates circulation, help with heart health and even improves energy and has anti-depressant properties
And that's only a few of the herbs & essential oils blended into this powerful stick!

Meadow Guard is light green in colour it goes on smooth and is quite moisturizing on the under arm.  It has a lovely lemongrass scent that both me and my husband enjoy.  We've been using it for close to a month now and we're still loving it.  My husband commented that it's the first deodorant he's ever had that actually kept him from getting stinky.  No overpowering fragrances, but that mix of herbs and essential oils is combating his odour-causing germs like nobody's business! I'm just excited when he gets home from work I can actually hug him without the fear of passing out.  And I haven't noticed any unsightly white marks on my clothes.  Bonus!

I have to say that I'm super impressed with Meadow Guard and I will admit it's steps above my own homemade deodorant.

And yes, it's OK to ask for some in your stocking! (pssst....it's perfect for cold & flu season.)
post signature 

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge from From the Meadow for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Natural Beauty with Madison Street Beauty - Product Review

As an advocate for natural and healthful living, I find myself always on the hunt for products that are harm-free; not harmful to me or my children or my planet.   I haven't been doing much along the way of beauty lately, only because I don't have much in my vanity and most of the products I've found are either too pricey or just something I wouldn't use.

But then I found Madison Street Beauty!

Madison Street Beauty was founded to provide environmentally friendly products with all natural and vegan cosmetics. They have quickly become an indie beauty favourite online. And their goal is to make finding natural products as easy and as affordable as possible while providing the highest standards of customer service.  Just what I was looking for!  Madison Street Beauty's dedication to conservation extends so you won’t find needless and wastefully extravagant packaging or damaging, chemically filled products being marketed aggressively in an inefficient and ecologically harmful way. And everything they sell is handmade in the USA!

Forest Moss, Full Moon & Garden Bud
Madison Street Beauty sent me a rainbow of naturally pigmented eye shadows to try out.  Each mineral eye shadow is highly pigmented, resists creasing and blends easily with a silky feel. Their handmade eye shadow colours are formulated with natural ingredients and they don't test on animals. Plus they offer a large collection of vegan cosmetics.

I've never used a mineral eye shadow before and I was immediately surprised by the sheen & sparkle of the shadows.  They are so saturated with colour that a little goes a long way.  Silky and soft, the colours blend easily and it only took a few seconds to add a little sparkle to my lids!

So whether you after some holiday sparkle or just a little everyday glamour, the Madison Street Beauty eye shadows are a must have for your makeup bag.  You'll be amazed by their seemingly endless array of colour choices and they are just plan fun to use.

And I still can't believe that they are all natural and when you look at the products online the ingredient lists are right in the product description.  Amazing! I think some other beauty companies need to take notes. 

Can't wait to check out the rest of their product line!

post signature 
Disclaimer: I am an Affiliate for Madison Street Beauty and was provide this product  free of charge for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Foodie Friday: Family Pizza Night

It's 4pm, the end of the week and nothing in the fridge.  Kids are going crazy and you need to feed your clan before the meltdown begins! Swim lessons, dance class, homework - you need real food, real fast. But you don't want to fork out a lot of cash and you want something nutritious. What to do??

Grab a ready made pizza shell from Organic Works Bakery and you'll calm the feeding frenzy with some fun, gluten-free natural food.

We made one with meat & cheese and the other vegan for me!

 Organic Works has 2 types of frozen pizza shells - Plan and Herb & Garlic. We recently tried the Herb & Garlic and it was a hit on the homestead.  Perfectly seasoned and its strong enough to hold our toppings and sauce.  No saggy crusts here.

Making a pizza is a family affair in our house; I select and prep the toppings and Chef Stella decorates the pizzas and waits eagerly for them to come out of the oven.

Frugal, fast & fun;  Organic Works pizza shells are sure to please your family and your budget. They are gluten-free, nut-free & VEGAN! 

And did I mention delicious!?

post signature
Disclaimer: I am a Brand Ambassador for Organic Works Bakery and  received this product free of charge for the purposes of this article.  The opinions expressed are my own. 

We got Worms!

Family size Worm Composting KitYup, it's true...we've got worms!  But in a good way...really! Please meet the latest addition to our family - a lovely family of Red Worms complete with their own little cedar cottage courtesy of Wood Worm Farms!

Why you ask?

Well, not only do I think it's kind of cool, (yes I'm a nerd) but it's also a very effective way to compost indoors.  Did you know worms can consume their weight daily? They eat half bedding (carbon) and half food scraps (nitrogen). Generally speaking, 2 lbs. of red wigglers will recycle 1 lb. of organic matter in 24 hours. That's pretty amazing!  We have plenty of food scraps here so I thought it would be a great experiment to see if we could maintain a happy healthy worm farm.  Whatever we don't feed to the worms will still be sent to our outdoor composter.

And did I mention that the worm castings make amazing fertilizer.  The castings can be added directly or mixed with potting or garden soil as a soil amendment. Castings make nutrients easily available to plants and can be used as a top dressing for indoor or outdoor plants.  You can also make Casting Tea for your plants & lawn. Simply add 1-2" of castings to your watering can or rain barrel. Allow castings and water to "steep" for a day or two, mixing occasionally. Water plants as usual. The resulting "tea" helps make nutrients already in the soil available to plant and you'll end up with some very happy & healthy flora in your yard.

We recieved our Wood Worm Farms kit in a couple of days in the mail.  I had been drawn to them as their kits are made from untreated spruce; most I had seen online were made of plastic.  How great is it that once the farm has lived out its life, it too can be composted? The worm farm came fully assembled and was quite easy to set up. The hardest part was waiting to feed them for the first time.  After the little Red Wigglers have been placed in their new home we had to wait over a week for them to get comfy before feeding them.  Our worm farm is in the office in the basement and our pets really have no interest in it whatsoever.  It's a little cooler and damper than the rest of the house, but still in plain sight so I don't forget about them. 

Our little wiggly homestead is doing well, no funky smells or fruit flies.  Yippee!  And if you peek under the lid you'll just see some happy dancing worms.

So stay tuned as I will be updating you on the status on our farm as the months go on. And I'm excited that we should have lots of fantastic castings before the Spring is here.  And my plan is to show you that it can be done, even in the suburbs, and is a great way to help Mother Earth and your gardens.
post signature

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge from Wood Worm Farms for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Bumps, Bruises & Bums - Baby Burrific Heal-All Review

You may remember my previous post discussing all the nasty ingredients in diaper cream.  To think that we willing smear that gunk on our precious babes sensitive parts. But no more!  We have banished all those petroleum-based toxic concoctions and have been converted to a more natural, holistic product - Baby Burrific Heal-All.

This cream is part of From the Meadow's Miss Abby Baby Collection This is a must have for every nursery.  And it's not just a diaper cream.  This cream does it all; bumps, bruises, scrapes, dry skin and sore spots the Burrific Heal-All takes care of just about everything.

http://www.fromthemeadow.com/baby.htmMade with all natural ingredients including oil of Rosemary, Burdock, Heal-all,Yarrow and Aloe.This cream is gentle enough for all your baby's precious parts. 

As a diaper cream the Baby Burrific worked wonders.  It has a nice natural herbal scent and easily absorbed into baby's skin.  And unlike those white petroleum creams it soaks right in and you can rub the excess into your hands to help soothe dry skin.  I used it with our cloth diapers and it didn't stain them or make them smell funky like the commercial brand we had been using.

We also used it on the kids never ending  parade of bumps,scrapes, and scratches.  There were no complaints from the kids and it definitely helped to soothe and heal those sore spots.

The Baby Burrific Heall-All cream lives up to it's name and is a great multi-purpose cream to have as part of your nursery and medicine cabinet.  And to top it off, it's all natural and safe for even the smallest of babes!

post signature
Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge from From the Meadow for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Not Your Average Brunch

So you're dying for some brunch, but you don't want the same old greasy spoon joint.  You've got friends with allergies, some vegans and some meat-eaters.  Where could you go where everyone can enjoy the food?  Organic Works Bakery of course!

This past Sunday, Organic Works started their famous Sunday Brunch again!  With 2 seatings - one at 10am and one at 12pm it was a perfect combination for early risers and the late starters.

What really sets this brunch apart from others is that everything is fresh, homemade and created using the best local and organic ingredients.  Plus, there's dishes for everyone!  Whether you're gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, nut-free or a regular omnivore, you had lots to choose from to fill your belly.

From fruits and yogurts, breads and muffins to waffles, sausages and eggs benny you could easily satisfy your breakfast urges.  But if lunch was more your thing, how about salads and pasta, roast beef and potatoes, rice pilaf and a veggie bake.  So much to choose from!  Thank goodness it's all you can eat!

If you didn't make it out yesterday, don't worry....Organic Works Brunch will be coming back the first Sunday of each month!  Yay! I know we'll be back for sure.  We left stuffed full of nutrient- dense, delicious food and the kids happily filled their tiny tummies too!

Definitely not your average brunch!
post signature

Disclaimer: I am a Brand Ambassador for Organic Works Bakery and was provided this brunch  free of charge for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Foodie Friday: Easy Baking with King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Baking Mix

So I was craving some garlicky, cheesy buns to have with my pasta dinner the other night.  And  now being gluten-free, dairy-free & egg-free made that desire feel completely unobtainable.  But wait, what's that in the cupboard?  A box of King Arthur Flour Gluten-free Baking Mix!  And that's how it all began.

Checking out the back of the box I discovered a handful of delightfully easy and delicious recipes.  One of them was for some mouth-watering Savoury Biscuits made with bacon & cheese.  But I didn't have any bacon and I can't eat the eggs or cream so I decided I would see if I could make my own vegan version.  Bring on the biscuits!

The recipe called for bacon & cheddar cheese.  I left out the bacon as there wasn't any in the house and opted for vegan cheese instead.  Then for the cream; I used plain almond milk.  Easy peasy!  But wait....2 eggs...what to do?  Now with baking sweet treats I could easily substitute apple sauce or banana instead of eggs.  But with these savoury biscuits I didn't think the flavours would have complimented each other very well.  Enter the flax-egg.  If you've never looked up egg substitutes you'd be surprised to find there are actually quite a few of them.  And I thought the flax-egg would be a nice addition to the Savoury Biscuits; not only for taste, but flax is also nice and healthy
To make a flax-egg it's quite simple.  Just 1 tablespoon of ground flax and 2-3 tablespoons of water.  Mix it up and then wait.  Let your flax & water sit for a bit, 10-15 minutes will do, and the flax will slowly absorb the water and you'll have a nice little bowl of flaxy-gooey goodness
After mixing my eggs and following the recipe on the box, I added some herb & garlic seasoning (I didn't have scallions either) and patted out the dough and cut it into rounds.  My mixture made 7 biscuits and the box said 6-8 biscuits so I think I did everything right.
Into the oven they went and then I waited.  I baked mine for a little longer than advised only because my oven didn't want to brown them up.  But no matter, they smelled divine!  When they came out of the oven they didn't quite look like what was on the box.  They didn't rise nearly as much as I had hoped.  Now I don't think this is because of the mix.  I tend to over handle my dough and the flax-egg may have played a part in the lack of fluffiness.  But the true test was how do they taste?

A while back I posted about my first attempt at biscuits that were more like pucks.  So I was really hoping these ones didn't suffer the same fate.  But to my surprise they were soft and airy even though they didn't fully rise.  No hockey pucks here!  And the flax-egg did a great job holding them together.  There was no after-taste from the the flax and they were perfectly garlicky and cheesy!  So good slathered in vegan butter!

I have to say I was quite impressed that I could take a mix from a box and adjust it to my dietary needs and it still came out great! The kids loved them and now I don't have to pine for biscuits anymore.  I can't wait to try and vegan-ize some of the other recipes on the box!
post signature

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge from  King Arthur Flour for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Fashionable, Sustainable & Comfortable: American Flora Product Review

Running to take the kids to school, then groceries and errands and then Pilates class or a quick jog...just a regular busy day.  No time for a bunch of wardrobe changes, but you want to be comfy and stylish. So what do you wear to combat all your daily to-do's?!

American Flora is a line of active wear that emphasizes a woman’s true femininity, athleticism and beauty. They create boutique high-performance garments inspired by a  passion for dance and the beauty of our natural world.  Their smart design and extensive use of eco-friendly Repreve® fabric ensures each piece in the collection provides the ultimate combination of luxury, comfort and performance.

Recently, I had the pleasure of trying out a few of these amazing pieces.  The first thing that really grabbed my attention was simplicity and sheer beauty of their pieces.  I also was immediately drawn to their total green integration, from material to manufacturing. Each of their garments is made with recycled Repreve® Polyester fabric – the greenest, most comfortable performance fabric on the market. Their pieces are designed to move, to never bunch, pull or snag.

And yes, it can be worn backwards!
So I put the Jasmine Tank Top to the  test.  I've always found with any of my athletic wear that I'm always fiddling with it during my activities.  Tops riding up or bunching and twisting or something rubbing in a weird spot.

First up was jogging.  I wore the tank under my running jacket and hit the pavement.  When I first had it on I wasn't sure what to expect.  The tank hit just to my hips, but I've been used to running with long tops as they always ride up on me.  So I was really hoping I wouldn't flash my belly while out for a morning jog.  I was quite surprised when I didn't spend most of my time tugging at the tank.  It stayed perfectly in place.  And I was really impressed with the fabric itself.  It was so soft and supple and it managed moisture and heat very effectively.  I wasn't soaked or cold from sweat when I returned and there weren't areas that rubbed or irritated me. 

I then took my tank to Pilates class to see how it would perform.  And again, I was impressed.  There was no bunching or pulling and I was comfortable and able to enjoy the class without having to worry about constantly adjusting the top.

Finally I just wore it around the house, running errands and doing a few chores.  Just because it's athletic wear doesn't mean you can't use it for other things.  It was a great look paired with jeans and with a little cardigan over top I was ready to run around town.  I even threw on some shorts later in the day and cut the grass!

Overall, I'm quite impressed with American Flora's pieces.  They are functional and comfortable, but I love that they are extremely versatile.  How great it is to be able to hit Pilates class and then throw a sweater on and do a couple errands without looking like you just came from the gym?  I don't have a lot of closet space so having items that serve multiple functions is key for me.

American Flora sent me a few other samples from  their line to check out.  The leggings are amazing!  I've never had ones that I wasn't constantly hiking up so I'm thinking these will be on my wish list.

And the wraps....OH MY!  Online they look like hand painted silk scarves, but they are actually made from the same amazing Repreve® material.  They are gorgeous, wearable pieces of art.  Designed by some very talented New York artists, the wraps are multi-functional and a must have wardrobe piece.  I can totally see myself by the pool using this as a cover up or as a shawl on those cool summer evenings and its perfect for travelling.  Scarf, shawl, towel, cover up...the possibilities are endless!

American Flora has really done a fantastic job combining fashion with practicality and beauty and keeping their business green.  So try some on, I bet you'll never want to take it off!
post signature

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge from  American Flora for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.