I love Halloween! I know lots of people do, based on how many pins of Halloween makeup/candy/costumes/food/decorations I saw on Pinterest all month long...

And, since there's such a great big community of Halloween enthusiasts, I thought I'd cover something for the day AFTER Halloween. 

As you run errands (ie, go from Walmart to Target to CVS to Rite Aid buying 50% off Halloween candy), you're bound to need a caffeinated pick-me-up, if you're anything like me. I drink my coffee black, so I typically bypass the packets of sugar, honey, lemon, etc, but recently I paused and snagged a handful, since there were packets of Sugar in the Raw. I already knew what was gonna happen.

BEAUTY TO-GO: Lemon-Honey-Sugar Scrub
Ingredients: 2 packets of lemon juice, 1 packet of honey, 1 packet of sugar in the raw, 2 teaspoons EVOO from the pantry.
Tools: fork and shot glass (I made mine a facial scrub, so only used a small amount).
Steps:
1. Pour the lemon into the EVOO
2. Mix until well combined
3. Add the honey, and stir
4. Add the sugar
This amount was perfect for my face and neck. I massaged the sugar rocks gently over my skin, and rinsed with warm water. I must say, when rinsing, my skin felt oily still from the scrub and I was worried I'd need to use my facial cleanser after, but once I dried off with a towel, my skin felt incredibly smooth, clean, and moisturized - not oily at all.
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Looks like food...oh wait! It is food.
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Fresh-faced! Feelin good. Note the neon pink shower sponge in the back!
And now, for the best the interwebs have to offer...In case you missed it:



Those were my top 5 stories for the week ... what are some of yours?
 
 
The BabyLove team received an enormous amount of inspiration this weekend when we visited Baltimore to attend the 20th Annual Net Impact Conference. For those of you unfamiliar with Net Impact, it is a global organization dedicated to social progress, using the power of businesses, corporations and education for good. Most simply put, the organization aspires to teach everyone that no matter what their role is at work or in life in general, they can make a positive impact. 

You are a net impacter if you: 
  • Make decisions on a daily basis that lend to a higher cause.
  • Go beyond your employee duties to enhance social responsibility occurring at your work place. 
  • Are willing to take a risk to make a change or lasting impression in your community, city...world! 
Jessalyn and I learning the ways of responsibility in Baltimore. Apparently fancy cake has a lot to do with it. 

Corporations and industries do not only influence our economy, but our behavior as a society as well. If they operate in a manner that is socially and environmentally aware, the consumer in turn will have less of an opportunity to practice unsustainable habits. And if every company took steps to mitigate the harmful side effects that come of their operation, such as air or water pollution, there would be much less cleaning up to do. 

Its a shame that this isn't always obvious to everyone, or in their best interest. Sometimes it takes one person working within the company and concerned about to stand up and propose a change. 

As a happy member of Net Impact, BabyLove is devoted to doing whatever it takes to make a difference. We believe it is important to be mindful of our actions, and as an up and coming business we have the potential to put our energy towards betterment. This is our number one mission, beyond making money, earning fame or status...We wont be happy until we know we've done all we can for our mothers and mother nature!
 
 
Happy Monday!

I always love a good egg yolk. Some people avoid them and ONLY eat the egg whites because they’re afraid that the yolk is too fatty, or has cholesterol, or has this or that…well, in my opinion, they are MISSING OUT.

It also turns out that egg yolks are pretty controversial, especially for pregnant women. While sources like Whole Foods list whole eggs in their top 10 Power Foods for pregnant and nursing mothers, pointing to the fact that egg yolks contain most of an egg’s nutrition, the issue seems to be around RAW yolks.

Raw or undercooked food can pose serious risks to pregnant women and their developing babies, and egg yolks can carry bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Many websites address these dangers, citing mostly the same risks of infection and recommending a thoroughly cooked, firm egg yolk.

There are, however, people who believe that as long as the egg is from a free-range, pastured chicken, a runny egg yolk may actually BENEFIT a mother during pregnancy.

I guess this is something I’ll revisit in the not too near, not too distant future once I decide to have children, but the message I took away from this intense Google-research-session is…enjoy as many runny yolks as I can now!!!

What would you do? Would you take the risk? Do you believe the hype – for either side of the controversy??
Honestly, can anyone out there tell me that this does not look delicious?? I ate these for breakfast this morning – all you do for the perfectly pan-fried runny-yolk egg is:
1.     Heat the pan to medium heat.
2.     Drizzle in oil – any kind is good – my favorites are olive oil, coconut oil, or even non-stick spray if you want to cut down on fat.
3.     Crack the free-range, pastured eggs right into the pan and let simmer until the whites turn…well, white.
4.     Cover the pan (this helps cook the film of egg white that’s covering the yolk). If it looks like the bottom of the egg might get too crunchy, add a splash of water to the pan to get some steam action going.
5.     Carefully use a spatula and lift the eggs off the pan and onto your plate.
6.     Sprinkle whatever spices you like – I like pepper, oregano, and cumin usually but this morning I kept it simple with some fresh cracked pepper.
***
And now for this week's In Case You Missed It….

·         Organic Monitor Director argues that sustainably-minded Asian companies still overlook social and economic impacts.  The statement addresses a holistic approach and focuses on sustainable packaging. I wonder how or if those companies will respond…

·         Have you heard of EcoCert?  A certification body specializingin natural and organic cosmetics, they issued Honeywell’s first certification for an Asensa hydrolyzed corn starch that forms a latex and is used in both skincare and haircare applications. And I thought corn starch was just for cooking…

·         The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled a recent ad by Boots brand Little Me Organics to be misleading. The product has “organic” in its title, yet contains less than 5% organic ingredients. Semantics and legal definitions can be so problematic, can’t they?

·         Marine-based cosmetics might cause more harm than its worth by placing even more pressure on increasingly strained marine ecosystems.  May want to consider the FULL implications of that “eco” sea kelp scrub…

·         As you prepare your Halloween costume, check out this article from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics about metals in face paints before deciding to paint yourself blue in a full Avatar get-up.  I may have to come up with a new costume now…can’t be Yoda without a green face, now can I?

·         Here are 12 tips for a Healthy Halloween from Mother Nature Network. Yes, more about Halloween…but you can never have enough Halloween!!!

OH! By the way!!! Remember this post about running the Race for the Rescues 10K?  Well they sent out a post-even email announcing that ALL the pups at the event were adopted!!! AND – apparently they took pictures of the runners, and guess who is front and center in the FIRST picture of the email?

Uhh…of ALL the pictures. Of course, right.

Sorry for the randomness of this post…I've been running low on sleep! Have a wonderful week – stay safe and  stay healthy!

 
 
And the holiday-like week continues #pleasedontletitstop. For the last seven days, our doorstep has been covered with boxes of samples from companies we love. After months of researching these brands, our team was finally able to touch and see the products firsthand—this is a HUGE step in moving our project along. We are starting to see the tangible benefits of our hard work and cannot wait to how this progress continues over the next few months. But we could not have done any of it without the help of our brand sponsors. 

The generosity of Pretty Mommies, Susan Brown’s Baby Company, Lavender Ranch, Topricin, Jadience, and Mother Love allowed our team to transform our idea into a tangible product—and we are so thankful for this opportunity! Not only are these brands products fantastic, but the people that stand behind the brands rock too. Our team has had the opportunity to speak to brands’ representatives about everything from their products ingredients to how this industry works to why they love their company. The time that these people have taken aside to help us out is an invaluable part of moving our project further and giving our team a better understanding of how to fix this widespread problem.

So this week, we toast to our brand sponsors and cheers Thank You, Gracias, Merci, Grazi, and Danke to helping us pursue our project.

P.S. here’s a sneak peek of the samples!



 
 
Happy hump day! I hope your week is treating you well. Its always nice when work has its rewards, and for BabyLove we're beginning to see our hard work really pay off. We've been busy uncovering the latest in skincare and are excited to share our thoughts on some sample kits we received this week. 
To get a firsthand look at beauty sampling we decided to order boxes from some popular providers. Today we received our October packages from Beauty Army, Ipsy and Green Grab Bag. Our roommates peeped over our shoulders and chimed in with (jealous) ooh and aahs as we opened the boxes. 
Beauty Army's products arrived in a chic pink box that, to our surprise, is recyclable! We are always excited about companies who incorporate elements of sustainability. But Beauty Army's eco-conscious doesn't stop there. Upon closer examination of the products and a little bit of research into their ingredient composition, we found that all of these cosmetics are formulated naturally. In fact, most of the brands Beauty Army offers are all natural. Good looking out!
Ipsy had clever packaging as well. The magenta sleeve is a nice touch, and although plastic is no friend to the environment, we appreciated their material-minimalist approach. Instead of the more wasteful box-inside-of-another-box-stuffed-with-tissue-and-wrapping packaging style we usually see, Ipsy simplified their design with one external envelope and a cute makeup bag to house the products. We applaud re-usability and are taking notes for our own sample kit design. 
Last but certainly not least, Green Grab Bag delivered quite the cosmetic surprise. Everything included in their package is simply mouth watering. Coconut hazelnut sugar scrub, dark chocolate body butter, wild ginger alaea salt scrub...these products are supposed to go ON your body right? Well I guess they are probably healthy enough to eat too, but I wouldn't go that far. 

Another product that impressed me in this bag was Beeseline, a beeswax take on Vaseline which is a petroleum jelly product. I can't wait to let my mom try this out and hopefully break her Vaseline habit! 

Thank you fellow samplers! We applaud your work.
 
 
This week I’d like to start off with a VERY important announcement:
BabyLove has a Facebook page!! Head on over and check us out – We absolutely LOVE new friends, happy messages, cool wall posts, and definitely those “Likes”. Keep up to date on our project’s development as we move forward and grow!! #weresoexcitedandwejustcanthideit


We will be fully integrating our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, BabyLove website, and any other social media outlet we can think of…so that hopefully, you can visit us no matter how you choose to procrastinate...I mean.. pass the time online.

Speaking of social media outlets – I am a self-diagonsed Insta-addict. I’m always on Instagram – looking at photos, posting photos…it has taken the place of Facebook in my personal procrastination arsenal. My latest post:

I’m a huge animal (particularly pups) lover, and something that has always just killed me is animal testing of cosmetics. Honestly – my eyes tear up thinking about it #Imsuchasensitivesap.  I’m always looking for the “Not Animal Tested” verbage on labels, and it’s so sad that there are so few products out there that have it. It’s an outrage, really!!!

BUT a recent breakthrough in a Portuguese study could significantly reduce animal testing – the researchers’ goal, in fact, is to ABOLISH animal testing in the cosmetics industry.  Their “Sensitiser Predictor” test is a faster, economical way to assess skin sensitivity – and a seemingly better alternative to testing on animals.

So with that sad, and then hopeful, transition, here is what’s out there in green cosmetics news…In case you missed it.

·         Pretty Mommies Skin Care comments on the dangers lurking in topical skin products and how they affect an unborn baby. Did you know that oxybenzone, an ingredient in many sunscreens, is a potential hormone disruptor and has long been associated with low birthweight? So scary!

·         This NYT article provides alternatives to costly cosmetics – for example, to replace a “beach hair” spray ($20 for 4 ounces) … go to the beach! So simple.

·         FOX News anchorwomen wear noticeably more makeup than their liberal counterparts, as discussed in this Huffingtonpost article. Interesting…

·         Though not cosmetics-related, this article details the dangers of PVC flooring. PVC is found in many play-mat floors (soft, flexible plastic), and contains phthalates – an incredibly pervasive endocrine disruptor.  Better check those daycares! Yikes…

·         “Stars without makeup: The real face of fame.”  A slideshow gallery depicting 90+ celebrities with and without makeup. I love these!

That’s it for now … Stay safe, stay healthy!

 
 
This Friday, the Holidays Came Early!

We are not the type of girls that regularly receives packages in the mail. In fact, most weeks our mailbox is either completely empty or filled with bills and junk mail. But this Friday was different. You know that feeling you get when your boyfriend surprises you with a beautiful bouquet of flowers or when you run downstairs to the tree on Christmas morning? That’s how Team BabyLove felt when we saw the UPS man bringing two big boxes with our name on the top to the doorstep. These packages were overflowing with three new samples from two of our favorite brands--Pretty Mommies and Susan Brown’s Baby Company! 

Not only are these samples adorably packaged, but moms love how great the stuff is on the inside. And it’s easy to see why: both Pretty Mommies products and Susan Brown’s Baby Natural Sensitive Lotion-to-Powder is free of talc, fragrance, parabens, and phthalates as well as recommended by dermatologists. And they work!

The women behind the brands are equally as remarkable as their products. We heard firsthand how committed the founders are to revolutionizing the maternity skincare industry and making great products that are safe too. We are so grateful that companies like these exist and are even more excited helping BabyLove get up and running. So stay posted for updates about the launch of our product—we cannot wait to share these products with you!  

 
 
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The Stink about Deodorant.

Deodorant is a daily ritual for most, and sometimes, during high noon on a summer day, we will find ourselves hating that big guy on the bus who smells like he forgot to apply his Old Spice. Or maybe he swapped his Speed Stick for a fish stick...but I digress. 

Our offense to odor has grown incredibly since the time of our first pheromones. This is evidenced by the mass amounts of sweet scented lotions and soaps available for our slathering. Though many consider an individual's body odor to be repelling, recent studies indicate that what we use to cover up or prevent our smells are full of equally unattractive chemical ingredients. 

Deodorant products in particular have been under question as of late. Research has uncovered concerning ties between cancer and common ingredients, such as parabens, which are used as antimicrobial preservatives to promote shelf life. Parabens are absorbed through the skin every time deodorant is applied and, as their preserving nature suggests, have been found lingering in the body, disrupting cellular function. Whats worse is this and other harmful chemicals don't only exist in deodorant but are allowed by the FDA to be used in many other cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and even in some food items. Our exposure is at an all-time high, and we don't even realize it. 

Did you know that deodorants and antiperspirants are two separate product categories with two different chemical compositions? I didn't until I started looking into potential health risks of our trusted daily odor defender. Apparently antiperspirants are for the most part comprised of the same harmful ingredients as deodorants, but in addition also contain aluminum salts. These are used to block the pores from which our sweat is excreted, thereby preventing the release of fuel for our BO fire. Aluminum is also a nuerotoxin, and has been linked to nuerological diseases, including Alzheimer's. Though some stakeholders argue antiperspirants are safe for use, you cannot ignore the vast amount of aluminum people are exposed to daily:"It is often used in cooking utensils, containers, appliances, and building materials. It is also used in paints and fireworks; to produce glass, rubber, and ceramics; and in consumer products such as antacids, astringents, buffered aspirin, food additives. Another use for aluminum is in water purification, and it can therefore occur in your drinking water." Phew. 

I encourage a glance at this insightful article to get the rest of the facts on deodorant/antiperspirant health concerns. 

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With a laundry list like that, I myself am compelled to search for an alternative solution to odor in an effort to cut back on my own unplanned chemical consumption. Once educated about this issue, why go out of your way to apply chemicals straight to your body? It just doesn't make sense. 

This is where I put down the Dove and begin my pursuit of a finding my deodorant soul mate. I hypothesize there is a product out there that works without health implications. I also believe that pleasant body odor can be achieved through a combination of natural products, hygiene and a healthy diet, as corroborated by Bubble and Bee.

The first product I will test is Aloe & Almonds Natural Deodorant (seen here for under $3!) that my sister recommended. Check back for updates and reviews. 

Wish me luck on my quest. I hope I do not scare away my future husband...but if he can't deal with this he's not man enough anyways. 

 
 
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Over the weekend, I participated in my very first 10K race in the 2012 Race for the Rescues in Pasadena, CA.  In addition to solving environmental problems, pet adoption is something I’m VERY passionate about! It was a great morning – who doesn’t love a grassy lawn full of doggies?! My pups were very excited to get out and be social, and even participated in the 1K dogwalk with my parents.

That’s Gizmo on my leg, and Lucky not paying attention (pre-race)

I ran a good personal time, and did everything I could to prep for the race – from weekly training runs and a good diet to the right breakfast that morning and appropriate clothes/bodycare. Now, I mention bodycare because that is something many people may not think about – but I’ve learned through experience that wearing hairspray, lotion, or even sunscreen can cause MUCH discomfort during a run! When the products inevitably run down my forehead and into my eyes or mouth, I’m forced to endure burning eyes (a condition I lamented about last week) or a bitter taste.

All those chemicals not only inhibit my running but are very likely inhibiting my health as well! I don’t know about you all, but navigating the ingredient labels and monstrous selection of products at stores is overwhelming, and unavoidably, SOME harsh chemicals make their way into my bodycare regimen. **SIGHHHH**


There’s just sooooo maaannnyyyyy options!

BUT – there may be hope! Read on to hear about some promising developments for regulating the chemicals in consumer products…and MORE! (you know, In Case You Missed It)

·         In a recent blog post, Greenbiz.com announced California’s release of the nation’s first comprehensive approach to reducing toxics in consumer products – read more about the Safer Consumer Products proposed regulation hereLegislation is slow, but slow progress is still progress!

·         This article from Greatist.com does a fabulous job of briefly describing some of the dangers in several cosmetic products and practices…and appropriately citing its sources. There are few things better than a well-cited article.

·         For any Eco-Nerds out there, check out the SXSW Eco site to find out what happened at this Eco-tastic convention. They had an ECO HACKATHON! 

·         Sometimes, bedsheets can make or break a bedroom. Treehugger lists several organic options that are as luxurious as they are eco-conscious. If only I could afford those Turkish sheets…*sigh*

·         A recent study linking Mercury to ADHD development is especially worrisome given that the Greatist.com article also lists Mercury content of skin creams as a cosmetic danger – and mentions that its adverse effects can be experienced through second-hand exposure.  Better read those ingredient labels!

·         The Pregnancy Fitness article off the Huffpost Healthy Living site describes the commitment of some celebrity moms to health during pregnancy.  A fitness DVD program donates $5 per item sold to Christy Turlington’s advocacy project Every Mother CountsFamous moms staying fit…well, it’s better than the tabloids.

That’s this week’s roundup. Have a great week! Stay safe, stay healthy!
 
 
Our First Favorite Friday

Happy Friday Mamas! Starting this week, we are finding out what products moms like you have grown to love during pregnancy or motherhood. By sharing our favorites, hopefully we all can find the absolute healthiest skincare products that still get the job done.

Our guest star this week is a close friend of mine, Haley, who is pregnant with her first child (a baby boy!) and just entered her third trimester. Her sister, who is a mother to two adorable preschoolers, highly recommended that Haley try Dr. Hauschka’s Blackthorn Body Oil to minimize the risk of stretch marks. Considering that the woman had a knock-out post-baby body with zero stretch marks, Haley knew she had to give it a try. And even though this is not a mommy specific product, Haley considers it a must-have for her pregnancy skincare regiment (please watch the volume on the video- I apologize for the echoing, it was my first time using ecamm call recorder for Skype). 
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Dr. Hauschka Skincare has also earned top beauty awards from Instyle, Natural Health, The Green Beauty Bible Awards, and UK Cool Brands. With over 40 years of experience, this company knows a thing or two about developing a great product. But what we think is great is that they only use organic and wild-crafted ingredients (such as avocado oil and rose wax) and leave out the rest—you know, the bad guys like phthalates and petrochemicals. And not only are their products healthier for you and your little one, but are leading the way as skincare environmental stewards. This company minimizes its environmental impact by investing in energy reducing technologies and uses recycled rather than raw materials whenever possible (if you find these projects as cool as we do, click here).