The Conscious Box – Ethical Goodies Abound

by Tiffany in Natural Product Reviews

A company called The Conscious Box recently contacted me and asked if they could send me one of their “boxes”. I had never heard of the company before but I was familiar with what they were offering. I have seen it in one other place and fell in love with the concept. For whatever reason I never ordered though. Instead I would just see a link or a mention somewhere and think to myself that “gee I need to order of one of those” and then promptly forget. Thanks to this inventive company I finally got my goodie box! It is just as fun and exiting as I suspected it would be.

The idea is that you buy a monthly subscription and get a box filled with mystery goodies delivered to your door each month. You have no idea what will be in the box only that it will be a mish mesh of green and ethical goodies. Each month you get pure and natural products from organic food to vegan beauty supplies. The companies behind the products are all ethical and purpose driven businesses and the hope is that you will discover and fall in love with some wonderful new products and companies. You get to support companies that are working to make a happier, healthier planet, and a healthier you with natural and safe products. There is a card in the box with tips for ways to reuse the cardboard box your goodies came in. LOVED the idea to use it as a window box and plant flowers in it or use it as a picture frame! Attached to the box is a card with the monthly theme. For November it was gratitude, which is an easy sell when you open such a yummy box. The little quotes about gratitude were awesome at any rate.

I think the reason I love this concept so much is because I love surprises. Getting a surprise box every month is so much fun and I get to try stuff I might not otherwise have tried. Almost every single thing in the box was new to me. Woot! This is what came inside my November box:

A Mary’s Gone Crackers Double Chocolate Cookie – Yum! Dark, rich chocolate and by a company that makes several crackers that I love. I had no idea they made cookies though. Guess I haven’t been to Whole Foods in awhile. The only issue I had is that it has soy in it. As you may know… soy and I are not on good terms.

Funky Monkey Dried Pink Pineapple – Another yum. Major yum. They are vegan, raw, and gluten free. My kids descended on these like vultures and begged that we keep buying. These would be perfect for school lunches IMO.

Living Nutz Bodacious Banana Bread Walnuts – We are not newbies to Living Nutz. They are fracking awesome in our estimation. We had never had the Banana Bread Walnuts though. Yummo! They do in fact taste just like banana bread. You can buy them at Raw Food World.

KIND Almond and Coconut Bar – I have seen these around but never tried one before. Whoa baby they are good!

Honest Kids Tropical Tango Punch – What can you say about juice boxes really? My 5 year old drank it up and claimed to liked it, LOL. They are organic, contain half the calories and sugar of most children’s drinks, and have no high fructose corn syrup.

CocoaWell Pills- These I had never seen before. Apparently they give you a dose of cocoa without the calories and fat you would get from eating chocolate. The cocoa is infused with green tea and acacia catechu – nature’s richest sources of pure plant flavanols. Fair trade!

Glee Gum – We got mint and lemon-lime. Glee Gum is a natural gum alternative, with no preservatives, artificial flavorings, or colorings. It is also the only gum on the market which contains chicle in its gum base. It is not 100% plastic free gum but it comes much closer than other gum products. My 11 year old son liked the mint flavor and my 7 year old daughter HATED the lemon-lime for the record.

Pharmacopia Organic Verbena Body Lotion and Body Wash – These two smell divine, that’s for sure. Since we don’t buy products like these they seemed like a super luxurious shower treat. Formulated with certified organic ingredients and an aromatherapy blend of essential oils.

100% Pure Nourishing Cream – We got Vanilla Bean and Green Apple. – Haven’t tried them personally since I am not big on lotion and I don’t have a need for it really but I suspect I will enjoy them sometime this winter.

Loved the experience of getting this box and I will definitely have to become a subscriber!

Monday, November 7th, 2011



In the Know With Abe’s Market

by Tiffany in Natural Product Reviews

I discovered Abe’s Market sometime last year when I came across a cardboard dollhouse with furniture that I knew my 7 year old daughter would just love. It ended up being a birthday present and my daughter still plays with it quite often. Even though it is made of cardboard it is still going strong.

This store is part Etsy and part Whole Foods with a mix of posh and sustainable toys as well as some handcrafted stuff. But they also have a little Amazon, Groupon and Home Shopping Network thrown in their to to make a really well rounded online store. Abe’s Market is about combining the best things that Grandpa Abe represented – health and wellness, mom and pop, reliability, trust, honesty, community and personal connection between business owners and customers. They also have great prices IMO. I recall that dollhouse being a real steal.

Well, the folks at Abe’s Market are celebrating their new “In the Know” video series by offering my readers a kickin coupon deal. The idea behind the series is to help consumers find out where the the products they are buying come from and the story behind them. This valuable background goes beyond what can be found on a label. Who makes the product? What’s in it? Where is it made? How? I recall watching their video about the dollhouse when I purchased it. I already thought it was an amazing idea but it looks like they are taking that idea even farther and adding educational videos on all sorts of other topics. This one below talks about shopping for natural, organic, eco friendly toys.



With Christmas coming up I thought a $10 off coupon might come in handy. Enjoy!

Visit the store and use the special one-time only discount code “ENB-dk49hy” at checkout for $10 off a $30 purchase or more. Also visit @AbesMarket on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

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Build a Dream Playhouses Review

by Tiffany in Natural Product Reviews

We have owned several cardboard toys from mini treehouses and castles to spaceships to actual child size play houses. I like cardboard because it is recyclable or compostable and durable enough for kids to fully enjoy it before it needs to be tossed. You can also paint them all sorts of groovy colors and customize the way they they look.

These days my kiddos are playing with a cardboard ice cream truck courtesy of Build a Dream Playhouses. They graciously offered to send us one on the house and I knew my kids would get a kick out the truck as opposed to their other (but equally fun) cardboard toys.

It came in a fairly large but skinny box and my kids loved playing with that too. I had my husband put it together cause that’s how I roll. It took about 10 minutes I would say. We noticed right away that the truck comes out of the box plain so that it can be an ice cream truck like we have OR an ambulance… it came with a few extra pieces for that, if you want to go that direction. That is why they call it The Imagine Wagon as opposed to the Ice Cream Truck.. pretty clever I think. This giant truck sat on our kitchen table for about a week while I painted in spurts.. with the kids helping of course. I picked the yellow and teal color scheme for the truck and my daughter chose the ice cream flavors.

We used water based acrylic paints and it dried very fast. It was also pretty easy to paint since we had it up on a table. The most time consuming part was painting the ice creams on the side of the truck.. the sno cone, ice cream cone, ice cream sandwich, and the popsicle. They had to drawn by hand but it was easy enough after I printed some vector images off the computer and then traced them onto the truck. Then I painted over where I traced and voila. I think they came out very well. My oldest son claimed that I was a big fat liar for claiming I was not artistic. Ha! I would not go so far as that but it was a nice if not slightly insulting compliment. They still need to paint the inside dash with markers and it will be all finished.

After it was all painted it hung out in the garage for far too long as we waited for a non rainy day to play with it. But that sunny day finally came!

They LOVE it! But I knew they would. I also figured it would draw other kids and boy did it. At least half a dozen other kids made their way over to play with it in just a few minutes. It was a big hit. They all took turns pretending to order their favorite items.

My only criticism is that the big Popsicles on top come off really easy when it moves or the wind blows. The sides can cave in a bit when kids move around it from inside, like they are driving. The design in those two ares could be a tad sturdier. Stickers would nice for parents that don’t want to hand paint the ice creams but in the end I am glad I had to paint them. It was a lot of fun.

There are many other options other than the ice cream truck too. My kids woulds also dig their lemonade stand, their play kitchen, and their space rocket. In fact we may need to buy that space rocket or Cosmic Cruiser as they call it, soon. I see a lot of open ended “pretend” play with these toys, which is the best kind. I also love that they were designed by a Cleveland Dad, very cool. These playhouse definitely get an enthusiastic thumbs up from us!

Buy the The Imagine Wagon (Ice Cream Truck ).

Thursday, April 21st, 2011



Wooden Earbuds for Eco Fitness

by Tiffany in Fitness, Natural Product Reviews

My ten year old loves to listen to music while he roller blades… which is usually a couple hours each day. He all but commandeered my older iPod shuffle so this week I decided to just gift it to him. Perhaps I was just sick of hearing my son’s music.. “We Will Rock You” in particular. Either way I got a new one for me and the husband. I use it at the gym and for meditation, he uses it while at work.

A new shuffle meant new headphones so I opted to get some of the new wooden earbuds I have been hearing about. The housing around the tip is Mohagony wood, the tips are plastic free silicone, and the cord is braided rope with wires on the inside. Supposedly the sound is supposed to be richer and warmer than regular earbuds but I couldn’t really tell much difference. Though I can’t have the volume very loud because my ears will start to hurt… a side effect of my cancer treatment was ear issues. The colon (what’s left of it) is okay but the ears are wacked, funny how that works. These earbuds do appear to be just a bit greener than other types and these particular ones have a lifetime guarantee, so hurray for that.

If you are in the market for any or your kids need some for school try some wooden ones. They work just as well and I think they are slightly cooler looking myself. You can buy some for anywhere from $20 to $50. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011



Xtrema Healthy Cookware

In my post on Healthy Cookware I mentioned that I was trying a new-to-me brand of safer pots and pans called Xtrema by Ceramcor. They sent me a skillet a few weeks back and I have now had a chance to use it in the kitchen. Their pans are high temperature ceramic that is non-scratch and easy to clean. I don’t see a non-stick claim on their site but in my opinion they are very much non-stick. They can be used on stove top, oven, under broiler, freezer, frig, microwave and on a barbeque grill. The company recommends that you use nylon, silicone, or wood cooking tools with these pans but as you can see in the photo above I used  a metal spatula for cooking eggs. I don’t like plastic or silicone spatulas and wooden ones are too thick for flipping eggs. It didn’t scratch the pan but for all other types of cooking I used wood spoons.

For fried eggs this pan was great. They cooked like a dream and they flipped very nicely without sticking. The pan was also a snap to clean. I also used it to make some fresh fish for the kids, and also to saute mushrooms and onions for other dishes. IMO it took a bit longer for food to cook with this skillet than in my stainless steel skillet. That said, I must also share that I recently went from cooking on an electric range to a gas range again and I am NOT digging the cook times for gas, so that could be the issue as well.

This isn’t my new favorite pan or anything but it is very nice for cooking eggs on weekday mornings, or browning up some mushrooms for lunch… when I don’t have too many people to cook for. It is super easy to clean, which makes me VERY happy and it is a nice looking skillet as well. I am happy to give this healthier skillet a home. I would like to try the Xtrema Wok and give it a nice test run as well.

Why Its Healthy:

* Handmade using natural gas, clay and water

* No trace metals or chemicals leach from the cooking surface

* There is no harmful PTFE coating and it produces no harmful PFOA gas which can occur with most popular petroleum based non-stick coatings.

Why Its Green:

* Materials are inorganic natural minerals from our earth’s crust

* The non-scratch ceramic cooking surface on the Xtrema cookware is non-reactive and 100% non-toxic

* Durability – These pans will last for a long time and cannot be scratched… even if you use steel wool. There is even a 50 year warranty.

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010