A New Year, A New Chapter

by Courtney on January 5, 2016 · 0 comments

New Year 2016-01

We’ve been on hiatus since our return from Natural Products Expo East in September. But not without good reason! We’ve been brainstorming and are hoping to launch a new earth friendly project, our journey into zero waste living. Now this won’t change the basis of our website, to provide you with honest and fair reviews of new earth friendly products. In addition to that we will be featuring some of the ways that we have begun living a zero waste lifestyle, with tips and resources to allow you to do the same.

Some might wonder, with all of these new products we receive to review, how can we be zero waste? Well the truth is that we often give away some of these products to family and friends or of course use them ourselves and recycle what we can. Though this website is not strictly zero waste, our review process does create a fair amount of recyclable materials, but very little trash. So in short, we enjoy the idea of a zero waste lifestyle but aren’t yet able to incorporate that into our review process. Instead it will be incorporated into our daily lives outside of the blog.


Woodzee Bamboo Sunglasses

by Courtney on October 2, 2015 · 1 comment

You can count on the eco-conscious world to shun plastic products and for a good reason too. Those plastic products take way too long to break down. This is not the case with the products from Woodzee and their wooden eyewear. It comes from the earth and can essentially be put back into the earth. But in case you don’t want to bury your eyewear at the end of their life, Woodzee encourages you to return your used eyewear to them and they will credit you with 40% off your next pair. That’s some great incentive to upgrade you style.


I was excited to try out my own pair of Woodzee sunglasses and see how they stack up against the other alternative sunglasses I’ve reviewed (Dizm Biodegrable Sunglasses & Wooed Bamboo Sunglasses.) I selected Mishka frames with black lenses for my sunglasses. The style was very much a reminder of the 1950’s and the frames my Grandma used to wear, especially with its flared corners. Coated with a black wax, you can hardly tell these are made from bamboo by looking at them. Pick them up and you’ll be even more astonished by how light they are!


I wore them on several occasions at varying lengths of time to get a good feel for how they fit. For me, unfortunately they seemed to be too tight on the bridge of my nose and between my eyebrows. As for any period of time it would leave an impression mark on my skin even if worn for 10 minutes. Only problematic if you don’t want to walk around for a little while with marks showing that you’ve been wearing sunglasses. In general it’s something I wasn’t too much pleased with but perhaps other styles don’t have that same problem as much. They did fit snuggly behind my ears and never were in danger of falling off if I bent over.


Other than leaving an indentation on my skin, these glasses are awesome. They provide ample sun protection for my eyes with 100% UV 400 protection. What’s even more awesome is the company’s consideration for the packaging their product is shipped in. Instead of plastic air filled padding, my sunglasses were nestled in a bed of wood spirals (from what I assume was wood scraps) within the shipping box. I felt that was a great use of materials that might have just been garbage otherwise. Woodzee is conscious of their carbon footprint and even use 50% recycled paper for the box the eyewear comes in as well as print with only soy based inks. That box is even 3 sided instead of 4 to help reduce waste also! I love the handy pouch the sunglasses are stored in, as they are easily shielded from scratches within the pouch. They go even further by plant a tree for every pair that you buy. Practically everything about the Woodzee brand is on point for the environment!


Not only does Woodzee offer glasses in sustainable woods like bamboo, but they also offer them in other materials that can easily be repurposed such as skateboard decks and the brand new Maker’s Mark oak barrel sunglasses. Yup, these sunglass frames are made from oak barrels that were used to make whisky. Before using the barrels to age the liquor, they are air dried for 9 months outdoors and are fire charred, so you can get unique wood patterns for each pair. Find out more about these one of a kind glasses here.

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Natural Products Expo East 2015 Recap-Part 2

by Courtney on September 30, 2015 · 0 comments

Here is the conclusion of Natural Products Expo East 2015 Recap, if you missed part one you can find it here.

IMG_8362-Web Sticking with more sweet treats I discovered that day, I want you to know about Pure Genius. What a rather cute name for a company that makes brownies and blondies from beans. I’m sure there was a meeting about their company name, in which they decided baking with beans was “rather genius.” I agree with them, if you want a sweet treat, why not have it be a healthy one? I tried the brownie and blondie and could not tell at they contained black beans and chick peas, respectively. They had the texture of a chewy undercooked brownie, which I’m sure a lot of people try to replicate with boxed brownie mixes. As their website says, they will be begin shipping these today actually, I suggest you try your own when these little tasty squares taste so good, so get some for yourself.

IMG_8365-Web Veggie Fries are a new to me product, as I was encouraged to stop at their booth and try a sample – it was well worth the time. Veggie Fries are a combination of vegetables and potatoes; they have four different flavors – including broccoli, carrot, chickpea with red pepper and kale with Tuscan bean. All fries contain just under 30% of the vegetables listed, though I wish that number was a bit bigger. However they do pack a great flavor and wonderful crisp on the outside, thanks to a special “patent-pending” process, allowing the inside to be fluffy too. You can bake or fry them, but I’d suggest baking since that’s the healthier way. These would be a great compliment to a burger and salad, plus a great alternative to full potato fries. Find them at most major food stores, including Whole Foods.

IMG_8379-Web Upton’s Naturals Bar-B-Que Jackfruit is a great meal replacement for your burger to go with these Veggie Fries. I heard so much online about the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit that I was so excited to try it at the show. Though never having Jackfruit in its natural form, I must say that this was an identical copy cat of pulled pork. I could not tell that it wasn’t meat! That is the key to great vegan food, to not be able to tell easily that it isn’t meat. The Bar-B-Que sauce was just a tad sweeter than I’d like and would love an even spicier version too!

IMG_8357-Web Wash down your burger and fries with a drink mixer from Cocktail Crate. They caught my eye as we wandered through many vendors that lined the hallways this year. Their nicely designed bottles caught my eye, which I had wrongly assumed contained actual liquor, but instead contain the drink mixes. For all those non-drinkers these are wonderful drink mixes, add your own alcohol or don’t to their four different flavored mixes. I happily tried the Ginger Bee with some club soda and it was instantly my absolute favorite of them all! It tasted like a lightly flavored soda, similar to Green Bee Soda. For comparative purposes, I did try the Spiced Old Fashioned mixer with alcohol. Unfortunately that wasn’t as well received by my tastebuds. The other flavors include Siracha Margarita and Maple Whisky Sour, as well as a Grapefruit Daquiri-but that wasn’t available to taste at the expo. Get a party pack of four flavors in their online shop here.

IMG_8372-Web Grayl is the final stop of awesome companies in this recap. There are of course many companies that make water bottles, also a lot that make water filters. But how many of those combine products to make something awesome? Grayl would be one of those companies making awesome things. They created a distinctly designed water bottle and added one of three types of water filters to it. There’s a type of filter for everyone and every need. Grayl offers three different types of filters based on use; tap filter, trail filter and travel filter. Each is capable of removing chemicals, bacteria and viruses respectively. Each filter lasts about 300 uses or 40 gallons. Find out which is best for you here.

Hoping you enjoyed our recap of some unique companies we found at this year’s Natural Products Expo East. Did you attend and find a great company we didn’t mention? Leave us a comment and we’d love to check them out!


Natural Products Expo East 2015 Recap-Part 1

by Courtney on September 28, 2015 · 1 comment

Natural Products Expo East this year was yet again another whirlwind event. Similar to last year, we opted for attending the last day of the even just for a quick day trip to Baltimore. Though this event can always, easily take up half the week as it runs for 4 days. With our day beginning before the sun was up, we made great time and rolled into Baltimore around 8:30 Saturday morning. We grabbed our press passes and were headed to breakfast until the NEXT (new products) Pavilion opened at 9:30.

As we approached the third floor Next Pavilion, the first company in front of the stairs was CideRoad Organic Switchel, a new favorite of our (check out our full review here.) Seeing a new favorite was great because I had a feeling our day was going to be jam packed with lots of awesome companies. I was totally right! With over 1,300 vendors there, we were overwhelmed. Thankfully I’ve narrowed down my top 10 eye-catching companies to share with you. There were many other great companies we loved, but because full reviews of their products will be forthcoming I won’t mention any of them yet.

IMG_8326-Web I love coconut oil, no doubt about it. I use it for everything from hair care to cooking, so it’s no surprise I’m over the moon about Jackson’s Honest. They make delicious potato chips and tortilla chips, cooking in coconut oil. This family run business is the product of the need to create nutrient rich foods for their family and son Jackson, who has an undiagnosed disease. They found results in eating healthy fats, like coconut oil, which was a great source of nutrition.

IMG_8327-Web These were the first chips I’ve ever had that were cooked in coconut oil and they were fantastic! Jackson’s Honest has their flavoring on point, as I literally ran back to their table to let them know how much I enjoyed their Sea Salt & Black Pepper chips, as I took a sample to snack on as I walked around. All their chips are certified Non-GMO and cooked with coconut oil. They also offer organic potato versions of their Salt & Vinegar and Sea Salt flavors. All tortilla chips are certified organic, so you know you are getting quality ingredients. Check out their full line of products here.

IMG_8355-Web Batter World was a company I had on my list to stop by and visit, so I was glad to come across their table and meet with them to find out more. Created by two Moms who enjoyed making pancakes for their kids, but wished it wasn’t so labor intensive during the school week (don’t we all wish that?) So they crated a wholesome pancake batter without any preservatives, in a squeezable container. It comes frozen, so that allows no need for preservatives, simply defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and store any unused batter in the fridge for up to 10 days. I thought the Multigrain batter tasted the best, but they also offer Original and Gluten-Free too. I was so excited to head home and find this at my local Whole Foods, but unfortunately it is only offer on the West Coast currently. However they do suggest that you request it at your local food store, as more requests urge companies to stock it.

IMG_8359-Web Simply Gum is another refreshing product I came across at the expo. Created with only 6 ingredients, all easily recognizable and easily pronounceable. This gum doesn’t look like your average dye colored or bleached white stick of gum. To me it closely resembles the shape and color of rabbit food pellets, but tastes nothing like it. Simply Gum shows that we shouldn’t judge something solely based on its outward appearance. I tried a single piece of Mint flavored gum while at the expo and was surprised at how light in taste it was, with non of the expected chemical flavors often repeated in mainstream brand gum. I no longer chew gum because I could never find any without funky ingredients, especially none without wax or aspartame – Simply Gum contains none of those funky products. They offer 6 flavors, including the very interesting Fennel Licorice. Find them at Whole Foods and other natural markets, search here for the closest store to you.

4:00 Cookie was another company I searched for knowing ahead of time they were a “good for you” company. The idea behind their cookie treat, was that when people crave a mid to late afternoon snack it might end up being something unhealthy, like a regular cookie or sweet treat. Owner, Debra Holstein knows that since that might happen, she created a cookie that is super healthy but still tastes like a sweet treat.

Instead of using traditional ingredients, like white flour and sugar. 4:00 cookie uses whole wheat flour, rolled oats, flaxseed and nuts, with a touch of sweetness from coconut flower sugar. These good-for-you ingredients help with a slow release of whole grains and low-glycemic sweeteners, helping to avoid the usual sugar rush with regular sweetness.

If I didn’t know ahead of time these cookies were made with wholesome ingredients, I wouldn’t have known as they taste as if they are a regular sweet treat. 4:00 cookie even offers a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie with 12 flavors total there is something you are sure to like, even the Granola Squares!

So that this post isn’t overwhelmingly long, I’ll conclude this recap on Wednesday with the final five companies that caught our eyes. Check out our Instagram page for several others from the expo we loved!

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CideRoad Organic Switchel

by Andrew on September 14, 2015 · 1 comment

I’d like to start off by saying that I have only tried apple cider vinegar once, and it was a bit strong for me. That’s why I was skeptical when I was asked to review Cide-Road’s Organic Switchel. What is swichel you ask, as I did as well. Switchel is a drink that has been made for hundreds of years using apple cider vinegar, ginger and sweetener. The three flavors I was given were original, cherry and blueberry. Upon doing my research on the company’s awesome website (go check it out, it’s very creative), I learned a lot about its history and what makes this unique drink so great. All that was left was to actually try the flavors.


Let’s start with the simple ”original” flavor. According to the bottle, which is written by a company with a funny sense of light hearted humor, switchel is made using apple cider vinegar, ginger and maple syrup. Reviewing the ingredients list I was pleased to see that A: the drink was organic, and B: almost everything used was recognizable to me. The taste was deffinatly not as harsh as I was bracing myself for. It was actually quite good. The strength of the apple cider vinegar was present; however it was complemented well by the sweeteners. At the time I was battling a cold/sore throat, and although this drink did not say it would help, help it did. The tang of the vinegar I felt helped aid in the clearing of my sore throat, at least that’s what I choose to believe.

The Next flavor I tried was “cherry”. I have tried may drinks and foods that claim to be cherry flavored, and miss the mark completely. This is NOT one of those items. The cherry flavor is not bold and in your face. It isn’t too weak to taste either. A precise balance that complements the harmony of the apple cider vinegar’s tang very well. Yet again the drink’s sweetness was quite refreshing on a hot summer day.

Finally we come to the blueberry switchel. This was hands down my favorite flavor! I have yet to try a drink that captured the tart yet sweet taste of real blueberries as well as Cide-road has. This drink quenched my thirst, healed my throat (still my firm belief that apple cider vinegar is magical) and was a great tangy/fruity/sweet change of pace from boring juices and sodas. I highly recommend this historic beverage to everyone, and they now have a new customer to help spread their tangy goodness! Order yours in their online store here.

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Bee’s Wrap Reusable Plastic Wrap Alternative

by Courtney on September 9, 2015 · 0 comments


As soon as I arrived at the NYC Green Festival in April, I made a beeline (pun intended) for the Bee’s Wrap booth. I found out about these nifty organic cotton, wax coated cloths the day before I attended the show through Instagram and was very excited to check them out in person.

These bees wax coated cloths are bendable and pliable to easily wrap around your leftover foods. They are a reusable alternative to plastic wrap, foil and waxed paper. With one specifically awesome benefit, these wraps will “adhere” to the rim of jars, bowls, trays and pretty much any container with a rim. In doing so, it can create a water-tight seal to prevent air from drying out your foods and allowing moisture to stay sealed in.


I am not used to the smell of real bees wax, so when I opened the package it was rather overwhelming. So much so that the thought of covering my food with that smell made me not want to use the wrap, despite being told the smell doesn’t transfer to food. It was off-putting from the beginning. That isn’t to say that those who are used to that smell wouldn’t love it. My friend was over my house when I opened the package and mentioned how he enjoyed the smell as he grew up with true bees wax candles.

After a long 2 months while the smell does dissipate and is much less “in your face” which made it easier to use. It wasn’t so great with keeping bread fresh, at least not how I expected – to make it super soft, it did not. Though I loved it for wrapping a cut tomato and onion in an open container, which kept it from drying out. I was happy that I purchased the $6 medium size wrap since I felt it difficult to make continual use of the wrap, which now just sits in my pantry awaiting daily use. The small size was just as versatile as the sandwich wrap – you could even add your own button and string later.

I was excited to see if the wrap would help extend the life of my block cheddar cheese, as the cheese I purchase at Trader Joe’s has no preservatives and tends to mold sooner than traditional cheeses. I could never use the cheese fast enough before I had to throw out a large chunk of it do to mold.


I wrapped the cheese for about a week in the Bee’s Wrap and found it wonderful at keeping the cheese from drying out. I may have used up the cheese faster than normal but also because of the Bee’s Wrap there was no mold to be found at all. It was about two weeks since I purchase and opened the cheese and that certainly is a good sign to not have to waste food do to mold. It is really wonderful to have a specific use for my Bee’s Wrap, I will certainly be using it to wrap my block cheeses from now on. Note: I tested this again and had the cheese in my fridge for about three weeks (still well before the sell by date on the package). This time the cheese did have a small white patch of what seemed to be the beginning of mold. But this wrap isn’t expected to keep out mold, it is expected to keep the cheese from drying out and that it did a good job of. I do want to note that I also had the Bee’s Wrap cheese also sealed in a ziptop plastic bag, for added freshness.

I would certainly recommend this product, but make sure you air it out the wax smell first!


Nike Reuse-a-Shoe Program

by Courtney on September 4, 2015 · 0 comments


Shoes protect our feet; help up perform in sports better, show off our style among the many other benefits to having shoes. But what happens to these shoes when they are no longer useful? Do you just throw them in the trash? Off to a landfill they go where they will no longer be useful.

It’s likely all of these things are happening around the country and none of them are good for the earth. With any task I do, I always try to find a use or reuse for something that otherwise will end up as trash. Here is where Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe (formerly known as Nike Grind) comes to help. Nike takes your unwanted shoes (in any condition or brand) and separates them to create new play places, parts for Nike clothes and Nike equipment products. Playground surfacing companies work with Nike to create tennis and basketball courts, running tracks, athletic fields and playgrounds.

Though you can mail your shoes to Nike, they highly recommend dropping them off at a Reuse-a-Shoe location (search for one here), up to 10 pairs of athletic sneakers are accepted per person per visit. This excludes boots, sandals, dress shoes or shoes containing metal such as cleats or spikes.

When I dropped of my two bags full of footwear (I had been collecting a while) I forgot to snap a photo of my donation but was a bit sad to see that I was the only one making a contribution. As the bin to accept shoes was empty until I got there. I’m hoping that maybe they recently cleared it out and mine was the first new donation.

When talking with people, it seems they aren’t totally aware of this program. I think education might be part of the problem, as well as not many drop-off locations are available as I think there could be. Unfortunately drop-off locations are restricted only to Nike only stores. Shoe stores in general would be a great place or even mall common areas would be a great place to offer drop-off locations. I really hope my article brings more awareness as Nike has a wonderful ideas to reuse products but people need to utilize these services to help the environment.


Spoonk Mat

August 21, 2015

For the past few years I have traveled around to learn about new healthier/cleaner/more efficient alternatives to activities of my everyday life. I’ve wander the isles of various festivals learning about new variations of products that I use many times in my life, ranging from dish soap to water bottles, super foods to medicines. Each […]

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Alternative Powered Jeeps at All Breeds Jeep Show-Part 2

August 12, 2015

To read part 1 of alternative powered Jeeps, click here. If I wasn’t already amazed at the fact that there was an electric Jeep at this Jeep festival, I was floored again when I came across a Jeep CJ7 that was converted into a stellar solar powered camper. The solar panels on the roof power […]

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