BabyHawk Mei Tai Review

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Photo from Google Images. Review of BabyHawk Mei Tai baby carrier, made in Oceanside, CA. From their website: “The modern Mei Tai is borrowed from the ancient Chinese method of babywearing.  Traditionally a large square or rectangular piece of cloth, the Mei Tai was secured by tying its four corners together.  Today’s Mei Tai come in a variety of colors and patterns, offering on-the-go families an excellent, comfortable, and stylish solution for carrying babies and toddlers.  Mei Tai offer caregivers three positions for babywearing (front, back, and hip) and can be tied for a custom fit. BabyHawk Mei Tai can fit women up to size 22/24 and men up to an XXL; you have the option to customize your Mei Tai with extra-long straps.   Lightly padded for comfort and durability, Mei Tai straps are 3 3/4 inches wide and is designed for children weighing between 8 lbs. and 40 lbs.  Mei Tai can be machine washed with a small amount of detergent; line drying is recommended to preserve color. BabyHawk is dedicated to quality carriers that reflect the style of each baby wearer and the creation of jobs in USA.  Your new Mei Tai is proudly made to order in in Oceanside, California with 100% cotton chino twill and 100% quilting quality cotton.”

I started this page when my son was 1 year old, so wasn’t on my made in the USA mission when I worked on my baby registry for the shower/blessing way I had for him. I therefore registered for an Ergo as it was the name I saw recommended over & over, and my sister got it for me, and another friend got me the infant insert. I wore my 1st born quite a bit, it was definitely convenient here & there. I flew alone with him on 3 separate trips to go visit my sister before he turned two & can’t imagine having to navigate the numerous airports without a carrier. My husband wore him throughout our trip to Yellowstone when he was 5 months, through the Denver Botanical Gardens, to various music festivals & and on many more trips, so it has great sentimental value. But now I have a new baby & don’t want to keep using the same ol’ carrier for sentimental reasons! I’m SO grateful the kind folks at BabyHawk agreed to send me one of their carriers to try out. I sent email inquiries to a few of the other made in the USA carrier makers I’m aware of as I really, really wanted to have a Made in the USA option to recommend over the Made in China Ergo & the others didn’t even take the time to respond, so I believe this says a lot about the BabyHawk company! They are very proud to be making their carriers in the US, and want to highlight that fact more.

 

My baby girl is sleeping in it right now, with her forehead close enough to kiss, one of my favorite parts of babywearing J  With a toddler & a newborn, babywearing is not just a convenience, it’s a MUST. I truly can’t fathom life without a baby carrier. I honestly wear my baby girl, who is currently 9 weeks, at LEAST 8 hrs. a day. It’s like my 2nd skin, and she LOVES it! She’s a super happy baby and rarely fusses, but if she’s tired & getting a bit fussy, has been fed & has a clean diaper I can place her in the carrier and it’s like she just melts away.   I love that you can get it very tight, I squeeze a burp out of her 90% of the time, and if it loosens up a bit over time as all carriers usually do it’s super easy to retighten it without taking it off (something I’ve struggled with using the Moby, I’ve gotten it tight enough a few times, but it just seems too loose most of the time & I don’t like that feeling). The firmer piece of fabric that goes behind the neck area does a fabulous job of supporting her head & keeping her from slumping backwards, something that happened often in my Ergo. I love that you don’t need an infant insert with this one, and I feel the infant insert in the Ergo made it quite a bit hotter for babe & I. I love the minimal amount of fabric, and that she’ s not cocooned in there. Also, you can send in your own piece of fabric and they’ll custom make you one, which is very attractive to many!

There are a few differences between the BabyHawk and the Ergo, but both are Soft- Structured. There is no hood and no zipper pocket. It has no buckles which I really, really like. This means you can get a perfect fit. One issue I was having with my Ergo is that in order to get it as tight as I like I had to tighten the straps way up, and the strap that loops around my arm was cutting into my breasts, making them sore. With the BabyHawk I can tie the straps where I want, usually around her back, or down by her feet and I don’t have the problem with them cutting into me. You can wear your babe in front, back or side just like the Ergo. With my son I only ever wore him in front, I just never got the hang of getting him on my back so even at just shy of 2 years old I wore him through several airports in the front. Plus, I truly adore having babe’s forehead close enough to kiss. I tried getting the Ergo side hold figured out once and gave up, but will definitely be trying to perfect some of the other holds as my baby girl grows up.

Most of these carriers are $85 which I believe is a fabulous deal considering Ergo’s are $115 at least, and are made in China. The one & only thing I miss about my Ergo is the hood. I can live without the zipper pocket the Ergo offers, I used it a few times but it’s not crucial. But I did use the hood a lot to keep the sun off my babe’s head, but more-so while eating. I don’t  know how many meals I’ve eaten while wearing my babes, and eating things such as corn on the cob, can be quite messy. A simple solution I’ve come up with though is to just lay a towel over the top of my babes head instead of the hood. It’s a feature I can live without, but it did come in handy here & there.

I realized I was madly in love with my BabyHawk Mei Tai when I left it at a friend’s house after visiting for the morning. I got home and a bit later went to strap my baby girl on & couldn’t find my BabyHawk. I got a panicky feeling, my heart rate seriously went up, and I remembered  taking it off at my friend’s house to nurse & walked away later, leaving it lying on the ground. Even though I had an Ergo, Moby & Balboa laying right in sight at home, I only wanted my BabyHawk. I packed up the kids & immediately drove back to my friend’s house (just a few miles away thankfully) to get my carrier as they live on a farm & I was super worried about a farm dog carrying it off or something, and I just couldn’t chance it. I was so happy to have it back in my hands again. I knew then that I valued this piece of fabric greatly!

 

I THANK the kind folks at BabyHawk VERY much for generously sending me this carrier, and more-so for giving all families a fabulous, made in the USA option to wear our babes in. I will be recommending this carrier over, and over as much as possible. Please check out their website & FB pages to stay in touch!

Website: http://www.babyhawk.com/

Fb page: https://www.facebook.com/BabyHawkInc?fref=ts

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Vermont Soap Review

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Review of Vermont Soap, based in Middlebury, VT (a location chosen due to its proximity to a hydroelectric dam where they get their power).  From their website: “We make 100% natural and non-toxic alternatives to the chemical based personal care products now in general use. Our products are so natural, they’re certified to USDA organic food standards by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF)

All products have very minimal ingredient lists, something I value greatly. I’ve done reviews for other lines that are indeed using safe, even organic  ingredients, but even then I don’t like to see paragraph-long ingredient labels. Less in more; simpler is better, in my opinion. We use so many products daily that it really does make a difference what is in each & every product we use.

You can shop by product type, category or skin type. They offer a wide array of classic handmade bar soap with beautiful options such as Amethyst Swirl. Also castile liquids, shower gels, foaming handsoap, non-toxic cleaners, moisturizer/anti-aging, bath accessories, gift sets, outdoor & animal care (the world’s 1st USDA certified organic Horse Shampoo),  baby care, even organic oral care (tooth salt!), 3# boxes of thirds, the list goes on & on. If it’s a product you need that is soap-based, they likely have it (I didn’t see hair care though). They have a ‘Soap of the Month” club, which would make a fabulous Holiday gift for that person you have no idea what to get—who doesn’t love a high quality, pretty, good-smelling bar of soap? They have a Bubble Bucks Rewards Program where you can earn points for every dollar you spend which you can use towards discounts. I know many people like to participate in such programs: http://vermontsoap.com/about-us/bubble-bucks-rewards-faq/.

I really enjoyed clicking around their website- they have a TON of info, and I highly encourage you to go visit it yourself & click around (link to their website at end of review). Tidbits I learned by browsing their website: none of their products contain soy, and they offer gallon (& even 5 gallon) refills of many products which is something I always love to see.  I really enjoyed reading the link regarding Corporate Responsibility, which had the following info: “Vermont Soap is a different kind of company. Our job is to make yummy stuff to replace all the yucky stuff that’s been clogging up our world. Every employee has a vested interest in bringing you the highest quality, most reasonably priced, natural and organic products possible. We bring an ecological mindset to our day to day operations. Products do not appear out of a vacuum! Every raw material and ingredient is put under a microscope, literally and figuratively. And we take the same approach to the sourcing of our packaging. Vermont Soap uses materials, equipment and services produced in the US and local to us wherever feasible. Green is a process not a result. Vermont Soap is there with you on your journey toward a non-toxic work and home environment.” They also discuss their sourcing of shea butter, palm oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil & butter, all of which present individual concerns & considerations: (http://vermontsoap.com/corporate-responsibility/responsible-sourcing/), and their energy use: (http://vermontsoap.com/corporate-responsibility/hydropower-soap/)

Here’s a list of the products I was sent, their prices & ingredients, and my thoughts on them:

Foaming hand soap- Lemongrass Zen,  7 oz. $7.90. I’m a recent convert to foaming soaps, and will never, ever go back to soap any other way. This soap smells so wonderful, the Lemongrass gives it a clean and fresh but still earthy smell. It’s a wonderful soap and one pump is plenty to wash your hands. This is a product I definitely think I will be ordering once I run out!

Liquid Sunshine Zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) Cleaner: World’s FIRST certified organic ZERO-VOC surface cleaner. $7.87 16oz., gal $49., 5 gal $199. Ingredients: Super-purified water, saponified coconut, olive and jojoba oils, natural rosemary extract (preservative). This is a very concentrated product, 1 or 2 sprays provides ample soap. It has done a nice job on my stove top, counters, fridge, anything I could need a soapy spray for. I have really, really enjoyed having it around! It is so nice being able to spray a few squirts here & there and do some cleaning while I am wearing my 2 month old in her carrier & have no concerns for the fumes she & I are inhaling!

Baby shampoo/wash- 9.98 8oz pump bottle- Saponified Organic Oils of Coconut, Olive & Jojoba, Vegetable Gum / Glycerin Extract, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Rosemary Extract. This is not a foaming soap, but you could certainly put it in a foaming pump bottle if you had an extra one. This is a very mild, basic soap with no unnecessary extras which is exactly what I want in a baby soap when I use one. I honestly don’t use soap all that often on my toddler, and have never used it on my 2 month old, but it’s nice to have this bottle around for the occasion that I do want to lather up my toddler after a long day outdoors!

Shea butter- pocket/purse size $3.00 They also offer a 4# bulk bucket for $49 which I think is a great deal if you need a lot of it! Shea butter, along with coconut oil, are my go-to moisturizers. I use coconut oil on a daily basis, but if I have any ‘problem’ skin (extra dry) I use shea butter. I also used it often on my growing baby belly. Shea butter is very thick & nourishing. I keep the small container they sent me next to my bed & use it as lip balm before going to sleep. As I mentioned above they provide information about how they source their shea butter from sustainable sources, which is of course very important!

They sent me 2 bar soap which retail for $5 ea. The Oatmeal Lavender is their best-seller, and I can see why. It has a delightful lavender smell, with small flecks of oatmeal throughout it. We rarely use ba soap in favor of liquid soaps, but it’s been nice to have a bar soap around again that we thoroughly enjoy using. Since we don’t use them often, it’s something my toddler really loves to soap up with in the tub. They also sent me their Aloe baby soap which has nothing but a soapy smell to it.

I thank them for sending me these products to try out & for making great, safe, effective products here in the USA! T Here are links to their website & Facebook pages for you to check out. A great way to get a feel for a company & what people think of their products is to visit the wall of their Facebook page & see what others are saying!

Website: http://vermontsoap.com/
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/VermontSoap

My Green Mattress Latex Pillow Review

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Review of latex pillows from My Green Mattress, based in LaGrange Highlands, IL.

Healthy pillows & mattresses are one of the last categories many of us “green” up in our lives as it’s an expensive category to replace ($69-$79/pillow). I was previously unaware that latex existed as an option for pillows and mattresses. I was really excited when I was contacted by a representative from My Green Mattress & they offered to send me 2 pillows to try out. I was sent 2 king size pillows in medium support, which are ideal for back sleepers which I mainly am these days. It wasn’t until I received the new pillows that I realized how terrible the pillows I was using were .  Even though I just bought some new pillows no more than 2 years ago, they were already all bunchy & not comfy at all. One of the 1st things I noticed after waking up the following morning after using my new pillows was that I didn’t have ‘bed head’ nearly as bad as I had been having, which made me aware that I had been tossing & turning a lot before, trying to get comfy. I’ve been using my new pillows for 2 weeks & am very, very happy with them. I’ve been sleeping great & feel I’m not tossing & turning at all. The pillow does cradle your head very nicely & will never bunch up like my other pillows all are!

I Googled “concerns with using latex pillows/mattresses”, and the only ‘con’ most articles pointed to was some think they smell like rubber, like a new tire would, but that seemed to be associated mainly with synthetic latex pillows, which these are not. I had to bury my nose in the pillow to smell the slightest odor from it, and I didn’t think it smelled like a new tire. But, if you’re extremely, extremely sensitive to smells you may notice an odor from it, of course it will dissipate over time. But, that’s the only concern I could find about them. While these pillows are made in the US, I noticed that the pillow case covering the latex pillows are made in China.

As latex is not sourced in the US I asked where the latex from these pillows was sourced, and if it was Fair Trade, etc. Here’s the response from the company: “We purchase our latex from Latex International. A representative from Latex International has explained to me that the raw form of latex is harvested from a number of different farms, including, but not limited to farms in Brazil and Sri Lanka. I have found in my research that the governments in both Brazil and Sri Lanka have developed union-type groups called Rubber Clusters to protect the labor force that harvests the raw latex. These groups protect the land from deforestation, and help to develop strategies for being competitive in the world market. These strategies include training personnel from plantation managers and laborers to research and development to marketing. Much of the work on the plantations is still done by hand, with machinery that harvests the latex becoming more common.”

Here’s info about the pillows from their website: Imagine the perfect night’s sleep. Did you imagine lying on a pillow that cradles your head in comfort? We invite you to try our 100% Talalay latex pillows. Derived from the natural milk of the rubber tree, latex foam pillows conform to the delicate neck and head areas for superior comfort and support. Why not make tonight perfect?

Benefits of sleeping on a latex pillow:

•Eco-friendly – Our latex pillows are derived from the sap of the rubber tree, a renewable resource.
•Resilient – Latex pillows bounce back and never bunch, flatten, or sag.
•Conforming – Immediately conforms to contours of head and neck, helping to keep your entire spine relaxed and aligned.
•Comfortable – Reduces high-pressure areas that can cause tossing and turning.
•Durable – Natural latex is resilient and does not break down the way other foams can.

Uniquely Healthy:

•Hypoallergenic—Latex has anti-microbial properties that make it resistant to dust mites, mold, and mildew. This relieves allergies and helps you breathe easier during sleep.
•Pressure Relieving – Latex pillows are supportive to alleviate pressure points that can cause, stiffness, pain, tossing, and turning.
•Breathable – unique pinhole design heightens air circulation, which keeps you warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
•Moisture and heat resistant.
•Chemical-free materials –Natural latex reduces your exposure to the chemicals and manmade synthetics found in polyurethane foam pillows.

Comfort Options:

•Plush – ideal for stomach sleepers
•Medium – perfect for back sleepers
•Firm – great for side sleepers

They offer several mattress options as well, including a twin mattress for $299 or a queen for $399 (+ shipping of course). These are the lowest prices I’ve seen on ‘green’ mattresses offered anywhere! If I were in the market for a new mattress, I’d definitely look into these!

The company has a new FB page which they’re trying to grow, so please hop on over & give them a like to stay in touch for future giveaways & more! Do you own a latex pillow? Would you like to try one?

Website: http://mygreenmattress.com/about.htm
FB page: http://mygreenmattress.com/view_products/latex_pillows.htm

Nurture My Body Shampoo Review

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Review of Nurture My Body- your skin, our organics: based in Denver, CO. Info about the company, from their website: “After seven years of research and development we launched our business in June of 2006. Our passion is to provide the safest and most natural personal care products that reflect the unique beauty in all of us while maintaining our stewardship with the Earth. What led Patty Kerr to conceive and give birth to this dream? Twenty-six years in the beauty industry as a licensed Esthetician and Hairstylist, a Certificate in Nutrition, Body Care and Herbalism, coupled with past experience of overexposure to chemicals. Additionally, with two beautiful teenage daughters, it became apparent that the pressure from society to look and act a certain way was affecting the way the girls felt about themselves. They were never going to be “enough.” Patty became passionate to create a different ideal that would empower young women and men to learn to accept and love themselves by simply appreciating what nature gave each of us.”

I’m trying to do a review for every business on my “approved” personal care listing, which this business has been for some time after a recommendation that I check it out from someone on the page (how I find out about most of the smaller personal care lines represented). When you browse their products & ingredient labels you will see very long ingredient lists, which often is a red flag. However, when you look at these labels you’ll realize that’s not the case. The products are filled with organic, wildcrafted, biodynamic ingredients. EWG lists 40 products by the company, none scoring more than a 1 which is EXACTLY the reason it is on my safe/approved list.

I was told I could choose a full size product from their offerings so I chose shampoo, as it’s one of the most Frequently Asked Questions on my page. They have 3 types of shampoo to choose from (moisturizing, for normal hair, volumizing), with a scent-free option for each of those as well. I chose the shampoo for normal hair.  About this shampoo– Price: $24.95/ 8.5oz bottle: Our botanical Shampoo for Normal Hair combines 18 certified organic ingredients to gently wash away dirt, impurities, and build-up while leaving healthy, soft, and manageable hair with a beautiful shine. This is our most popular shampoo which beautifully cleans without stripping the hair’s natural oils. It does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate or any harsh detergents. Safe for color-treated hair.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Decyl Polyglucose, Lauryl Polyglucose, Cocos Nucifera (Coco de Cream)**, Chondrus Crispus (Seaweed) Extract**, Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Infusion**, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Infusion**, Urtica Dioica (Nettles) Infusion**, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Infusion**, Ulmus Fulva (Slippery Elm) Infusion**, Althaea Officinalas (Marshmallow Root) Infusion**, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey Root) Infusion**, Calendula Officinalis (Pot Marigold) Infusion**, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile Flowers) Infusion**, Avena Sativa (Oatstraw) Infusion**, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) CO2**, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Essential Oil**, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedar Atlas) Essential Oil**, Citrus Reticula (Red Mandarin) Essential Oil**, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Essential Oil**, Rosemarinus Officinale (Rosemary) Essential Oil**, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Extract *Organic **Certified Organic ***Wildcrafted ****Biodynamic/Demeter Certified

The shampoo produced a fabulous lather & I only needed a little bit for my hair, which is quite short so you would obviously need more for very long hair. The shampoo smells lovely, with an earthy smell from the cedar, lavender, rosemary, with a hint of citrus which I’m a huge fan of. It did not leave my hair feeling oily or greasy, and I did not follow-up with any conditioner. I love that they give you  the option of a BPA-free plastic bottle, or glass bottle with pump for only $1 more, which of course is a fabulous deal & I would certainly go for if purchasing this product!

Categories of offerings by this company: Skin, body, hair, baby & pregnancy care, sunscreens, or you can shop by skin-type or feature such as vegan, nut & fragrance-free. Many of the products are in the $25.95-$27.95, with a few a bit cheaper such as a lavender toner for $15.95, and some more expensive such as facial serums going for $69.95. I generally don’t like to comment on affordability of the lines I review, but know from my 1 ½ years of experience on my page that this line  is definitely out of the budgets of 90% or more of the page (a fact I’m sure they’re well aware of). And that’s Ok. But, I do know that there are some on the page who have the money, and desire, to splurge on some great quality products, made with great care & love, and this is a line for those folks! I was very surprised when looking for a photo from Google images to upload for my review I noticed picture from Amazon where the products are indeed available! Most are the same price, but I did see a bottle of the conditioner for $10!!!

In conclusion, I think this is a fabulous, safe line that I have absolutely no hesitation recommending. But it is also one that is out of the reach of many financially. I thank them for allowing me to sample a bottle of their shampoo, and I thank them for making terrific products with no harmful ingredients.

Website: http://www.nurturemybody.com/

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/NurtureMyBody