My weight loss journey part 2: HOW I’ve lost 70+pounds in a little over 1 year!

As implied, there is a part 1, detailing how I found myself at 235# here:

After I hit publish, I thought including a photo might be welcomed 🙂 I NEVER thought I’d be a leggings Mama. Here I am in some LuLaRoe’s I got at my local $.50 store!! This is me, lounging around the house, drinking coffee, on a Sunday morning pic 🙂

2 words: diet AND excercise. It’s true. No magic pill. I have nothing to sell you. Here’s my story: I touch on One Meal A Day (OMAD) in the part 1 post, but here is where I’ll go more into detail. Reading Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens was very eye-opening and truly helped put me on the right path. 99% of diets fail because they’re too restrictive and just not sustainable. I love the idea of NOT denying whatever it is you want to eat, just being mindful of how much you eat, and when. I never feel like I’m starving, and when I’m craving a certain food, I work it in to my OMAD. This way of eating, along with hitting the treadmill and otherwise staying active, as well as drastically reducing my alcohol consumption is how I’ve got where I am now, currently at 162# as I type this. It’s INSANE to think about 70# of weight loss. I try to visualize it via comparing to a 50# bag of flour or beans, for example, and it’s just so hard to think about it being on my body, and then losing it. One thing is for sure: it didn’t come on overnight, and it didn’t disappear overnight. But YOU can make remarkable progress in months, or 1 short year. And it is certainly worth it. You just have to get started…. So, here’s my story!

I dropped my 1st 20# pretty easily, mainly following a Keto diet which focuses on high (good) fat foods. Many do really well on this diet. I found myself stalled out. And while in visiting my primary doc for something unrelated, I mentioned that I really wanted to drop some weight (I was around 215# at that time, Feb of 2022) so we discussed what I was eating. And she said: you know Jess, a high fat diet isn’t for everyone. Especially with women, she had seen them put on weight following the keto diet (reminder how all our metabolisms are so very different). And a light bulb kinda’ went off. I needed to switch things up. So I started focusing on OMAD, low-fat (naturally, not processed) foods (fruits and veggies) and lean proteins. Low carb, but not no-carb. I believe any diet that restricts entire food groups is just destined to fail. This way of eating is considered a lifestyle, not a diet. And I do believe it is something that I can stick to, for the most part, for the rest of my life.

So here’s what I love about intermittent fasting: you don’t starve yourself. You don’t deny entire food groups. You can eat what you want. Just in moderation, and during a small window of time during the day (to fit your schedule/comfort level). Some have a 6 hr window open, some 4, some 2, it’s all up to what works for you. There are many other benefits as well, not just weight loss! The basic concept is this: every time you eat your body produces an insulin response. So when you can fast for longer periods than just overnight, your body is able to tap into its fat stores, eliminate waste cells, helps curb blood sugar. The more strict you are, the better the results of course. Then when your window is closed, you don’t snack, you’re done. It definitely takes some trial & error and just plain ol’ time to figure out what works for you. Many consume their OMAD at dinner time. They work a traditional 9-5 job, so this works with their schedule, they get home and eat. When we started our journey, we went for that schedule. But by 2-3 in the afternoon we were starving and wanting to snack. So, being we’re fortunate enough to work from home for the most part, we realized we could have our OMAD when we were starving: early to mid-afternoon.

It takes quite a bit of time to get used to how much to eat during that one meal. Your instinct is to eat a LOT because that’s it for the day. So we’d overeat, and be absolutely stuffed! But like anything else, over time, you tweak it until you find your sweet spot. I have no desire to give up my coffee habit, so since I don’t like it black, that breaks my morning fast. If you can drink it black, or are a tea drinker, it isn’t considered breaking your fast. But, I realllllly enjoy my cup or 2 or 3 (lately) of coffee with cream + sugar. That’s what I sip on throughout my morning. Then, around 1-3pm, I eat my meal for the day. Sometimes I will snack a bit before it, during the 11-1 hours, and if so, it’s almost always a piece of fruit, which I try to switch up throughout the week, or make a fruit salad so I’m getting a variety of nutrients. But the key is, once I’m done with that meal, I’m done for the day. I’m always reallllllly hungry when it’s time to eat, and I swear, food just tastes much better when you’re starving. If we spend all day snacking, and truly are never really hungry, our body doesn’t appreciate the food as much, at least mine doesn’t. And then I take my sweet ass time to enjoy that meal. I eat very slowly. Enjoy every bite. Knowing I’m not eating again until tomorrow. Again, I didn’t get here overnight. It took months of tweaking to get it all figured out, and gain confidence, and know I was never going to starve.

I remember how excited I was when I finally broke 200#! And then when my new low number becomes my high number. 195 was the new low, then it was the new high. Pretty soon I saw 180. 175. 170. Currently, as I write this I’m at 163. My ideal weight, according to the BMI charts based on my height, is ~150. I know those are just a very rough guideline. But I do know I can get there and I look forward to it. However, if I didn’t lose another pound from where I’m at currently, I’d also be totally happy. Mainly I’m working on toning up now. I have quite a bit of loose skin around my belly from 2 children + the weight loss. And I have been working on toning my arms, specifically my triceps, for the past year. I’m definitely making progress and am happy with my body as is. But I still know there is room for toning. Soon I will not feel the need to step on the scale.

So, let’s talk weight loss vs maintenance. It’s all about how strict you want to be. When I could buckle down and stick to my OMAD, focusing on a healthy, lean lunch for a couple weeks in a row, and no snacks, no alcohol, I could lose ~.5#/day, so 3-4#/week. So I’d hit it hard for a couple weeks or have a really good month of staying on track, and then kinda’ fall into maintenance for a while. That meant eating more maybe, satisfying cravings more, that maybe weren’t super lean or healthy even. But continuing to hit the treadmill daily to offset, so I’d just stay stable.

Learning to say no to food and drink is not easy. Our society revolves around breaking bread with friends/family. And, especially in Wisconsin, one of the top alcohol-consuming states in the nation, it seems like everyone drinks, all the time. This adds soooooo many calories to your diet. You are literally drinking calories. I recently heard a woman turn down an alcoholic drink at an event, saying: I’d rather get those calories from a piece of chocolate cake instead of that beverage. And I think that’s a great way to look at it. But people do certainly think this way of eating & living (OMAD) is weird. They don’t understand. They insist, common’, you gotta eat. I remember a graduation party last year, the entire family ate before we went, and my kids were going to a pizza party at a friends afterwards. The hosts of the graduation party had such a hard time accepting our polite declines for the food. It’s just weird to sit around and socialize, but not eat, nor drink when everyone else is.WHY is it not okay to drink water and socialize just the same?! So it definitely takes some getting used to. But the more you say no, the easier it becomes! And it’s a great example for kids to see that you’re not letting others peer pressure you into consuming things you don’t want to be!

Of course I have days that I eat outside of the OMAD: holidays, gatherings, just plain ol’ hungry for something later in the day and I oblige. But for the most part, day in & out, I do stick to it. I’ve found, that the longer and harder you work towards your weight loss goal, the less you want to derail your progress. Especially early on, there were lots of ups & downs. I’d make progress, then spend a weekend with friends and indulge, drink beers, etc and by Monday morning the scale would be up 4# from Friday. The more you see that happen, the more you’re like: do I really need those beers, I worked so hard to take off a few pounds this week now I put them right back on. And you start back where you were a week prior, instead of continuing your trajectory of loss. Of course, we can’t add 4# of fat in a day or 2, so often it’s just a flux of water weight. I do step on the scale quite regularly, as I find it’s valuable at keeping me on track. But it’s not the end all and be all. I’ve learned the numbers can sway quite a bit in a couple days, but then sway back a couple days later. But overall, I’ve seen those numbers go down, down, down.

On having kids to feed: I feed my kids when they’re hungry. We unschool at home, so I wait until I hear: Mom, I’m hungry, before I make them breakfast. Sometimes they wake up hungry, other days I don’t get a breakfast request until noon. Learning to eat based on your body telling you it’s time vs the clock saying it’s time is an extremely valuable lesson to teach them. So many people eat according to the clock: breakfast, lunch, dinner at certain times out of habit, and not when their body tells them they can’t wait any longer. And kids certainly shouldn’t diet. But my kids are both overweight, so a big part of my desire to do this is to be the change I wish to see. By modeling healthy habits, I know it’ll rub off. There is always a tossed salad in the fridge here. Often when my Son wants a snack he’ll come out of the kitchen with a salad! But that has to be there, ready to go, for that to happen. My daughter has started using the treadmill (she’s 9). Nothing serious, more for fun than anything, but she is using it. When my kids eat, I ALWAYS sit there with them, even though I’m often not eating. That’s very important to me. So while yes, it’s a non-traditional approach in many aspects, that’s how we live our lives in general, non-traditional 🙂

When I’m trying to lose, it’s lots of amazing salads + lean protein: fish, chicken or venison frequently (I have a gallery of assorted meal pics at the end). And I try to eat meat every other day at the most. So the off days will be something like a black bean quesadilla or something else high in protein. If I’m in maintenance mode, I’ll often do a salad/lean protein one day, followed by a craving meal the next day. The craving meals are often things like homemade pizza, breakfast (have recently made a tradition of eating whatever breakfasty foods I’m craving on Sundays), a burger, pb & J, a bowl of cereal, even ice cream. Truly nothing is off limits, I just work it in. It’s fun to kinda’ plan out the week, think hmmmm, what do I want to work in this week, and then work it in. And as long as I keep hitting the treadmill, I don’t gain. It’s going to be amazing to get to my goal, and just stay in maintenance mode indefinitely, I’m SO close!!!

So what I eat & when is a huge part of the journey. The other is exercise:

Last spring, as I was beginning my shift to low fat eating, I also started upping my exercise. I had always taken walks with the kids, but you know how that goes, we would dawdle along at a very slow speed. We got out and enjoyed nature, but it wasn’t exercise by any means. I finally started making time to get more active, and mainly it was a fast walk, or a shuffle as I called it, not really a run. I came to really enjoy this time alone, usually accompanied by my dog, we’d go shuffle 1.5 miles up the dead-end road near my house, and back. Sometimes I’d get up at 5am even, and enjoy that cool morning air, such a lovely time of day. I progressed to often fitting in an evening shuffle too! But really didn’t do a whole lot more than that. I could tell it was making the pounds come off quicker though. Once June came, and the hot, muggy summer days, even 5am jogs were hot, and I wasn’t loving them. So, I turned to Craigslist and bought probably the best $100 purchase ever: a treadmill! We made room in our garage, which naturally stayed a bit cooler than the outdoors, set up some high-powered fans on it, and set up a pair of speakers next to it! All those things made an awesome difference. I never felt comfortable running on the road with ear buds in, I wanted to be aware of my surroundings (we live on a country backroad). Music is one of the most important things in the world to me, so being able to suddenly march on the treadmill, with a big ol’ fan and my favorite tunes blaring made it so, so doable!

My bare minimum was/is 3 miles/day. Many weeks I would take 1-2 days off (often weekends when we had stuff planned). Recovery days are important! But also, I wasn’t/don’t hit it super hard, I stick to my shuffle, so realized I don’t truly need recovery days like heavy-duty weight lifters, etc. So I do 3-6 miles/day. Each mile burns ~200 calories. I alternate between inclines and speeds, to target different muscle groups. I spread my miles out throughout the day, which I really like vs my Hubby who does his 3-5 miles all in 1 burst. I am always multitasking in the house, with the kids, etc so spreading out my time in 15-20 minute pushes works much better with my schedule. I don’t get as tired or feel as overwhelmed going out there knowing I’ll be there for an hour. And I feel like it might jog my metabolism and keep it on its toes more throughout the day. Ultimately, you need to do what works with your schedule and preferences, all that matters is you make it work!

Other than that, I lift some weights to tone up my arms and do some core-focused easy stuff. But that’s pretty much it. Now that I’ve shed the majority of the weight I want to, I’m going to start shifting gears to more toning routines. I still will hit the treadmill 2-3 miles/day minimum, I just feel really good about knowing I’m burning a base of calories every day. But I also have developed an owie on my foot from all the repetition. A good reminder that we can wear ourselves out if we stick with 1 thing for too long. That’s my biggest fear, especially as I age (I’m 43 currently): a chronic injury that prevents me from staying active. So it’s a good time for me to start laying off the treadmill a bit. Also, our muscles have memory, so it’s important to switch up our routines to keep them on their toes.

I really wanted to share all those details as a reminder that you do not need a gym membership, or a basement full of fancy, expensive equipment! There is SO much you can do with next to nothing! And Craigslist is full of used stuff, if you do feel the need for something fancy, since most people don’t stick to their regimens. And YouTube is FULL of free workout videos if you need some help knowing what to do to tone certain areas.

Conclusion: It truly is about mindfulness. A friend once said: I eat for survival, not for fun. Or something along those lines. He has lived in China and traveled a ton to very impoverished areas. And that comment changed how I looked at eating a bit. I feel, especially here in America, we’re just not mindful enough. From what/how much we eat, to how much waste we create, there’s often not a lot of mindfulness involved. As someone who has been promoting organic/all-natural products for a decade+ now, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson in that regard. If you’re paying $20 for a bottle of shampoo because it has safe ingredients, you darn well ought a be mindful of how much you’re using. So many just glob on a huge handful of shampoo, often using many times more than they need. So just slowing down, being mindful in all areas of your life, has SO many benefits. I strive to be mindful in everything I am doing, including eating. I don’t deny myself, I am just mindful of how much I eat, and when, and then keep my butt moving on the treadmill to burn those calories. And it’s working well!!

Here is an assortment of meal pics I found on my camera roll.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, comments. Is this something that interests you? Do you have experience with intermittent fasting fasting/ OMAD? Always nice to hear the experiences of others!!

Next chapter for Pure Play Kids

I could not be more excited to announce that my niece is the new owner of Pure Play Kids!! When I purchased it in 2018 I flew down to Nasville TN (from WI) and drove back a Penske moving truck full of inventory. While I had way less inventory now than there was then, it just seemed like the best idea to sell as much as I could, shut the website down, and chip away at selling the rest of my inventory during future buying clubs and local events. I hadn’t even really thought of selling it. And then my niece (by marriage), asked if I’d consider selling it to her. She just lives a few miles from me, so logistically it was super easy, and of course it was a huge relief to know it would carry on. Ehlonna is Mama to 2 amazing little boys, runs an in-home daycare, and just completed her accounting degree. She is working her butt off to be able to stay home with her kiddos, so taking over Pure Play is another way for her to diversify her income. Ehlonna is excited to give the business the breath of fresh air that it needs. She came and got all the remaining inventory yesterday, and in the coming weeks I’ll give her the website tutorial and she will get it back open for business. And then she’ll do what I did, add inventory little by little, as her budget allows her to invest. You can count on the same, great quality products you’ve come to expect, and certainly some fun, new, made in USA brands as well! It is my great hope that you’ll continue to make Pure Play Kids one of your 1st stops while shopping for your family!

A new chapter for Poofy Organics

It is with a heart & head full of emotions that I share this news: Poofy has new owners as of 12/5/22. The time has come for the next chapter. Covid, among other factors, has been so very hard on small businesses. From major supply chain issues, huge price increases on supplies, ingredients and shipping, many business owners are barely keeping their business afloat. Or, they’re going into personal debt to do so. That can only go on for so long.

At this time, here’s what I know: a team of 2 investors who have ~50 years of combined experience growing businesses successfully, have teamed up and purchased Poofy. Kristina will stay on for ~6months while she helps them transition. The same people who’ve always made the products in the Poofy kitchen will be making your products. Mario, Kristina’s brother, is staying on to run the helpdesk and techy stuff. Kristina will eventually be relocating to FL, where she currently has a 2nd home, to run a Pilates studio, which is a mega passion of hers currently.

Me: I’m all about integrity. In the products, and the company. We have been assured that the new owners are so interested in, and excited about taking Poofy over because of those very things. The integrity of YOU, the customers. Of us Guides. Of the products we’ve all come to count on. We’ve been assured nothing is going to change in any of those regards. They are going to keep the name, they are going to keep the USDA organic certification, the current formulations, and consult Kristina on future formulations.

Their goal is to make Poofy more of a household name. They have the resources to really put into the brand and try to help it claim way more of a market share than it currently does. They can make a reality many concepts that Kristina had dreamed of to take the brand to the next level, but didn’t have the resources to do. That would be a good thing for all things organic. The more demand for products, the more land that stays organic, the more farmers that keep growing their organic crops to make these products.

While I’ve shed many tears of sadness at this chapter closing. I’m also filled with feelings of happiness, pride and admiration for Kristina and how far she took this little baby of hers. She is a living example of the American Dream. Working your ass off for a decade+, pouring blood, sweat and tears into your dream. And knowing when to walk away before it’s too late and there’s nothing left. The alternative to this reality would have been the brand folding. Imagine the hole that would leave, I don’t want to even consider it.

YOUR support over the years has meant the world to the entire Poofy family. Myself included. And I’m sure this news will cause some of you to seek another brand. But I’m hoping a whole lotta you will, like me, remain optimistic and hopeful that the brand will continue to offer us the Poofy Peace of Mind that we’ve all come to count on. And if anything, it will only get better 💚

Reflections on my weight loss journey- Part 1: From the Beginning…

Recently I’ve started sharing tidbits from my weight loss success story, and there has been quite a bit of interest in how I lost 60# in a little over 12m, so I think it’s time for an in-depth look at how I got where I was to begin with, and how I got where I am today. Your questions and comments as I share help shape what I share, so keep asking and sharing what is on your mind. Many of you reading this have been following my life journey for the past 10 years as a blogger. Our kids were babies at the same time, now our oldest are approaching their tween years. Many of you, like me, are now in your 40’s (I just turned 43), or older, and we’re facing a new, unique set of challenges as we start having time to focus on ourselves again. My kids are now 9 & 11, and I finally feel like I’m coming out of the haze of years of pregnancy, breast-feeding, bed-sharing, and finally am re-finding ME. And it’s a glorious feeling. I know just about everyone struggles with weight at some point in their lives. It’s my hope in sharing my story that I can help you realize that YOU have the power to drop as many pounds as you want. I’ve never held a gym membership. The only special equipment I have is a $100 Craigslist treadmill and a few dumbbells and weights. I have nothing to sell, I truly just want to share my story. I haven’t felt compelled to blog on any certain topic in quite some time, so it feels good to want to type again. Here we go….

My story begins in August of 2021. My family is blessed that we’re able to take extended vacations. I’m a huge fan of slow travel. We did the natural progression from tent camping, to pop-up camper, to pull behind travel trailer. During the summer of 2020, and the height of pandemic life, we camped for 6w straight (you can read about it here if you want). 1 year later, in 2021 we went for just shy of 8 weeks, a good chunk of summer! I could write & write about the joys and positive, life-long benefits of such amazing trips. One of the only drawbacks I can think of is the mindset we fall into which is: we’re on vacation! Being on a weeklong vacation and indulging in food & drink is 1 thing. But for 8 weeks is another. In hindsight I can definitely look back and see I absolutely lacked self-control. Especially in the drinking department. When you’re sitting around a campfire every, single night, it’s easy to fall into a rut of having a few beers, or glasses of wine, or rum drinks. And I firmly believe that all those empty calories from drinking were a huge part of the equation that ended with me at 235# by the end of that camping trip. Most people don’t realize how many calories they’re drinking throughout the day/night! When we returned home in August and I saw myself naked in a full-length mirror I remember feeling disgusted. WOAH, who is this?! I was 230# when I gave birth to my 10# daughter. That really hit me. And I knew it was time for a change.

Back up a little bit: my Husband found himself where I was, 1 year earlier. After our 6w of camping in the summer of 2020, he found himself at his heaviest- 250#. Here’s a pic of him from that camping trip in 2020, I can REALLY see it in his face:

It’s weird looking back now, 2 years later, I don’t ever remember looking at him and thinking he was THAT overweight. But now, at 175# instead of 250#, wow, the difference. This is from this summer (June of 2022):

For those that don’t know, we live in Wisconsin. Drinking massive amounts of beer, eating deep fried cheese curds, brats, dairy in every form possible, is the norm. While we of course have many healthy, slim, beautiful people (and NO I’m definitely NOT saying you have to be slim to be beautiful!), we have normalized being overweight. So, what did he do? Pretty much stopped drinking. Not 100%, but cut way, way back. He also cut way back on carbs and sugar and focused on good fats and protein. And he started slowly building up his exercise routine by doing simple things around the house to build up his core 1st: planks, push-ups, off-road hikes up steep hills. Neither of us has ever set foot in a gym. I want to stress that there is so much you can do around your house, with no gear or simply items from around your house. And slowly but surely, the pounds started dropping and he started getting buff.

After seeing my Husband’s success doing basic, simple things around home and focusing on the tried & true solutions to weight loss (diet & exercise), I knew what I had to do. I was so happy for him to constantly be hearing: wow, you look great. And I yearned to make that my reality. I want to stress that I was never unhappy, even at my heaviest. Life was great. My family was having the time of our lives enjoying all the fruits of summertime fun. And I was not necessarily unhealthy either, at least according to lab numbers. While my weight put me in the obese category, my blood sugar, blood pressure, liver & kidney functions, all within normal range. So it wasn’t a health scare that shook me up and made me feel the need to lose. It was truly looking at myself in the mirror and going NOPE. This is not the me I want to be. And while my lab numbers were fine, I definitely got tired quickly, couldn’t walk a moderate incline without huffing & puffing, and that is not healthy. And of course a huge part of my motivation to be my best self is to act as a positive role model for my kids, and to be healthy so I can be around for them and hopefully their kids some day.

I’ve always been a dress lover, even when I was tiny in my teens and 20’s. So just kept buying bigger size dresses. And I thought I still looked good in them. I was buying clothes in 2x, and some of them were not fitting well either. That was not a good feeling. I’d go try on stuff in a fitting room and hate how they fit. I’m happy to report I recently sold all my XL clothes, and am wearing medium, even small in some recent shirts I picked up! I had a bin of size 14 jeans from years ago that I never thought I’d fit into again (I was in a size 18 at my heaviest), well recently I donated those all because they were too big! I’m currently in size 12, and even started wearing some leggings which I never thought I would ever, ever be caught dead in- holy COMFY!!

So that’s the lead-up to the rest of my story. How did I go from 235# to 170# in a little over 12m? Diet and exercise. It’s true. I have never stepped foot in a gym. What I do have on my side is time. Being I work from home, I know that is something those who work outside the home may not have. If you sit at a desk all day, your reality is much different from mine. My Hubby said quite a while ago: if we’re home all day, we have no excuses not to exercise. And that has always stuck with me. No excuses. Although even now that he’s working a 9-5 he still fits in at least 3 miles on the treadmill before bed! We learned about Intermittent Fasting, which I’ll write a whole post about later as well as what we eat, etc. We follow the One Meal A Day (OMAD) plan, it works for us. Reading this book was very eye opening and truly helped put me on the right path. 99% of diets fail because they’re too restrictive and just not sustainable. I love the idea of NOT denying whatever it is you want to eat, just being mindful of how much you eat, and when. I never feel like I’m starving, and when I’m craving a certain food, I work it in to my OMAD. This way of eating, along with hitting the treadmill and otherwise staying active, is how I’ve got where I am now, and how I’ll lose the remainder of the 20# to hit my goal, then keep it off.

Below, August 2021, me at 235#:

Below, Summer 2022, me at ~180-190#. As I type this, currently at 170#.

 So, there’s the intro. I have many more sub-topics to write about, including:

–Intermittent fasting & OMAD

–What I eat & when

–Learning to say no

–Losing vs maintenance mode

–Exercise

–Among other topics. This is an ever-evolving conversation. So, stay tuned…Let me know what questions you have please!

My tough decision to shut down Pure Play Kids

It meant so much to me to keep this business going when it was on the brink of extinction in 2018. But, times change, and I feel it’s time to move on. You can read about me taking over the business here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2018/11/05/meet-the-proud-new-owner-of-pure-play-kids/

Here are the reasons I feel it’s no longer in my best interest to continue the business:

–I’m literally watching items sit on my shelves and collect dust. There are items I drove from TN to WI in a Penske moving truck 4 years ago, still sitting on my shelves.

–My kids are growing, we’re approaching the tween years (they’re 9 & 11). When I started blogging, my focus was baby items. As we know they put everything in their mouth and it’s really important to scrutinize every, single thing we’re giving them! When I purchased Pure Play Kids in 2018, they were 5 & 7, still little kids. And the majority of those in my online community are right there with me, our kids are growing up together! It’s much, much more difficult to find fun, made in USA items to captivate their interest as they grow. So I feel my offerings are maybe a bit outdated for those in my online community. There are not a lot of new Moms joining me, so my collection of offerings just isn’t flying off the shelves….

–It takes money to make money. As a small business owner, it’s hard to actually profit. You invest a bunch of money into your products, you sell them which is great, but then you need to buy more to replace those you sold. Your money is always wrapped up in your inventory. And I’m sick of seeing my inventory sitting on shelves, I’m ready to cash out.

–Shipping is SO expensive. The cheapest anything can ship for 1st class is $4, that covers items under 1#. I used to offer free shipping for orders $70+, and it’s not uncommon for it to cost $10 to ship an order that amount. That quickly eats up profits. Currently, I have flat rate shipping set at $8, with free shipping for orders $150. As we know, shipping is only going to continue to go up, it will never go back down. So this is 1 of many factors that just makes me not want to rely on a business that ships stuff to get it to people.

–My website is set for renewal at the end of the year. That is money I’d rather not spend, so I decided this holiday season would be the perfect time to sell what I can and call it quits. I will continue to renew my domain name in case I want to bring the business back online in the future.

So, in light of all of this, I have decided to offer 20% off all items until sold out. Shipping is set at $8, or free for orders $150+. I truly hope you’ll take a look and see if there are people on your holiday list that you can make happy with some great, made in USA items.

****************CODE FOR 25% OFF IS: ThanksJess

Also, please take a look at my buying club extras. Most of these are 1 each, you can take 20% off the price listed as well. Email me to claim these items, I’ll add them to your PPK order (if you place one, if not and just want these, I’ll charge you exact shipping for what you claim): https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2022/10/12/extras-from-the-sep-buying-club-order/. Email: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com

And you can also add on my homemade toothpaste or deodorant, just not offering those at 20% off. Those are $9/4oz glass jar. Details under the recipes tab on my website: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/

Poofy Organics $12 and under offerings!!!

💸Don’t have a lot of money to spend right now? Maybe you’re struggling on one income? Maybe you’re on a tight budget? 💚Poofy has you covered! 💸

This is a list of everything we have $12 & under with our 15% off Holiday sale. 🎄

👄Lip Balms $3.82 each (all are clear):
🌰Almond Biscotti
🥧Apple Pie🍏
🍬Bubble Gum
🥥Coconut
🌿Eucalyptus Spearmint
🌱Frankincense & Myrrh
🍊Grapefruit Mint 🍃
🍋Lemon Sugar 🍯
🍊Orange Creamsicle
🍃Peppermint Vanilla
🖤Plain Jane
🎃 Pumpkin Spice
☀️SPF Superhero
🍓Strawberry Smoothie
🍹Tropical Punch
🍦Vanilla Sugar

🎅 Kids Bath Bomb Candy Cane Pack $11.05

💄Tinted Lip Balms $5.95 each:
🍓Berry Kiss
🥉Bronze Star
🌹Romantic Rose

Lashes:
💃Lash & Brow Spoolie Brush $8.50
💃Lash & Brow Travel Spoolie Brush $8.50
💃 Ecolash Applicators $11.90
💃 Silicone Lash Holder Pad $2.98

Bath Bombs:
🌬 Breathe Easy $4.25
🤧 Immune Booster $4.25
🌽 Candy Corn $6.38
🧁 Confetti Cake $5.10
🍭 Cotton Candy $5.10
🍬 Bubble Gum $5.10
🌲 Aspen Bath $5.10
🍋 Lavender Lemon $5.10
🌍 Mother Earth $5.10
🍉 Pink Watermelon $5.10
🎃 Pumpkin Spice $5.10
🌳 Rainforest $5.10
😴 Sleepy Sleep $4.25
🫐 Sugar Plum $5.10
🍦 Vanilla Oatmeal $5.10

Shower Steamers $3.82 each:
🌬 Breathe Easy
🤧 Immune Booster
🍃 Peppymint
🌤 Jersey Sunshine
😴 Sleepy Sleep
🌊 Summer Vibes

Toothpaste:
😁Cheery Cherry Toddler (adults can use too) $9.35
😁Happy Teeth (children may find it too spicy/hot) $11.05

Natural Healing:
💅Cuticle Salve Stick $5.95
🎉 Everything Salve Travel Size $5.95
🙊Anti-Lotion Stick $10.20
✋ Clean Clappers Hand Purifier $11.90

Nails:
💅🏻 Assorted Nail Polishes – $10.20 each

Baby:
👶Chappy Cheeks Lotion Stick $8.50
👶Tush Stick $8.35
🤱Happy Boobies Nipple Cream $11.05
👶Tush Wash Organic $11.90

Hair:
🌿Herbal Mint Shampoo Bar $7.65
🍊Citrus Coconut Shampoo Bar $7.65

Candle Melts $6.80 each:
🕯AfterDARK
🕯Autumn Harvest
🕯Dynamite Day
🕯Fiery Fall
🕯Happy Hippy
🕯Holiday Cheer
🕯Holiday Trees
🕯Pumpkin Spice
🕯Island Getaway
🕯Pest Protector
🕯So Fresh & So Clean
🕯Sugar & Spice

Dryer Ball Oils $10.20 each:
🧺So Fresh & So Clean
🧺Island Getaway
🧺Holiday Cheer
🧺Fiery Fall
🧺Dynamite Day

Aromatherapy Air Fresheners $10.20 each:
🏰 Medieval
🍊 Citrus Punch
🎄 Holiday Cheer

Soaps:
🧴Empty Soap Foamer Bottle $3.40

A huge variety of bar soaps $6.80 each:
🌳Antique Sandalwood
🫐 Blueberry Pie 🥧
🍭Candy Cane
🎂Confetti Cake
🍬Cotton Candy Craze
🍊Creamsicle Dreamsicle
🍃Eucalyptus Spearmint
🏺Frankincense & Myrrh
😎Happy Hippy
🤶 Holiday Cheer
🎄 Holiday Trees
🏡 Home for the Holidays
🍋Lavender Lemon
🌱Lemongrass Vanilla
🍊Orange Patchouli
☕Peppermint Mocha
🍦Peppermint Vanilla
🍐Pomegranate Pear
💜Poofy Plumeria
🎃Pumpkin Spice
🍦Vanilla Sugar

Specialty bar soaps $7.65 each:
🌚AfterDARK
🍬Bubble Gum
🌲 Aspen
🤩 Comfort & Joy
🌍Mother Earth
🤼‍♂️Take Down Bar
🏔Himalayan Salt Bar (body, face, hair, deodorant, shaving)
🌋Activated Charcoal Bar
🍯Honey Exfoliating Bar
🧒🏻Flawless Face Skin Balancing
✌️ Peace on Earth
🌊Sea Salt & Oud
🌲Wood & Citrus🍊

Lotion sticks:
🙊Anti- Lotion Stick $10.20
🥥Coconut $9.35
🍋Lavender Lemon $9.35
🍋Lemon Sugar $9.35
🍓Strawberry Smoothie $9.35
☺Chappy Cheeks $8.50

Facial Care:
🌋Activated Charcoal Soap Bar $7.65
🗻Himalayan Salt Face & Body Bar $7.65
🍯Honey Exfoliating Soap Bar $7.65
🧒🏻Flawless Face Skin Balancing Soap Bar $7.65
👧🏼Flawless Face Blemish Stick $8.50

Suncare:
☀️SPF Superhero Lip Balm SPF 15 $3.82
🥵After Sun Spray $10.20
🌞 The Sunscreen Stick $11.05

Foundation Samples $3.40 each:
👝ethereal: neutral to pink undertones
👝luxe: neutral to pink undertones
👝deja vu: pink undertones
👝xanadu: yellow undertones
👝wanderlust: pink undertones
👝serendipity: pink undertones
👝catharsis: yellow undertones
👝numinous: caramel
👝felicity: coffee

Brushes:
🖌Kabuki Brush $11.90
🖌Lymph Dry Brush $8.50

Essential Oils:
🌲Cedarwood $11.90
🍂Cinnamon $9.35
🍂Clove $9.35
🪴Eucalyptus $11.90
🍋Lemon $10.20
🌾Lemongrass $10.20
🍊Orange $6.80
🌱Rosemary $10.20
🌳Tea Tree $10.20

Clearance:
☕Mocha Frappe tinted lip balm $1.70
👄 True Brown Lip Liner $5.10
👄 Perfection Lip Gloss $7.22
💄 Hush, Couture, & Retro lipsticks $7.22
🖌 Felicity Foundation $8.50
🖌 Light Brow Powder $4.25
💦 Electrolytes $8.03
🌽 Candy Corn Bar Soap $5.74
🌽 Candy Corn Bath Bomb $6.38
🌽 Candy Corn Bath Bomb and Soap set $11.48
👻 Halloween Mini-lip Balm set $7.65

My link to shop: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/

ALL the details on how to save 15% + off all month!! https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2022/11/01/poofy-organics-monthlong-15-off-holiday-sale-details/

Poofy Organics monthlong 15% off Holiday Sale details!!

You likely know someone who owns a small business, or you yourself may even own one. The reality is, most small businesses are struggling more than ever. With inflation, increased shipping costs, issues obtaining ingredients and other necessary supplies, it’s tougher than ever for many to stay afloat. The crew at Poofy Organics has worked extremely hard, as always, to bring you a wonderful array of holiday items for everyone on your list, and to fit all budgets. I truly hope that you’ll take advantage of this monthlong sale and try to check off as many people as possible from your holiday shopping list. Giving the gift of Poofy helps ensure that the company keeps doing what they’re doing, that I keep doing what I’m doing, that YOU get the peace of mind that you’re getting, and giving, the best-of-the-best on the market. The Poofy Peace of Mind is priceless!!! Here are the details you need to know!

Instead of the 4 day Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale format, Poofy has decided to offer their 15% sitewide sale for the entire month of November. This helps ease the pressure on their shipping department late in the month, so close to the date the products are needed by. And it helps ease the pressure on the USPS to deliver on time. If there are any issues with your order, there is time to sort them out. It also helps you be able to budget and plan accordingly! Win-win-win!!

–15% off everything, including already discounted items! No code needed, must be logged in with your customer account. If you don’t have one yet, go to Login>Create customer account from my link: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/

–There are 20, yes TWENTY sets, all come in a bag or box, or some sort of lovely gift-wrapping! The work is done, you just need to order and you’re ready to give. The prices are already discounted vs buying the products separately (when even possible) PLUS you get an additional 15% off. For example: A kids makeup kit has been requested for years. The Poofy team put a lot of time & effort into creating it. It is retailing for $85, or just $72.25 after the 15% discount. Retail would be $110 if all sold separately! That’s just 1 example of the savings possible. Gift sets: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/category/181-holiday-shopping.aspx

–Shipping is always free over $70. Make sure your subtotal is $70+ after those discounts are subtracted. Look at your subtotal. Shipping can be pricey if under $70. I hate to see someone pay $10 to ship a $65 order….

— First 1000 orders receive a POOFY Chocolate Bar and a chance to win (6) CASH PRIZES! 5 people will win $100, 1 lucky winner will win $500! Check your chocolate bar to see if you have a special cash prize certificate inside. Again, 1st 1000 orders only!

–I offer rebates! For all of these, you need to order, then email me with the order# and let me know how you would like the rebate. Options are: PayPal, Venmo, Poofy gift certificate for a future order, or check. 1st ever orders receive a 10% rebate (must be a new customer, not just using a new email). If you refer a new customer, they get 10% off their 1st order as just stated, and once they let me know you referred them, you get 10% off your next order. You get 10% off all orders place during your birthday month. I need to know this in advance of your birthday month. I have a spreadsheet started to reference. All other orders, after your 1st, get a 5% rebate, all the time. You do have to write me to claim them, they’re not automatically sent, same as all other rebates out there!

Clearance, heavily discounted items that you can save even more on: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/category/220-discontinued-products.aspx

So, be sure to stock up on your everyday essentials. Try something new for YOURself. And give the gift of Poofy to as many as you can on your list. You’ll have them taken care of, and have the priceless Poofy Peace of Mind!

My email, to claim your rebate and/or ask any questions: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com

Extras from the Sep buying club order

Please email me to claim items: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com

Shipping continues to go up, I use USPS Priority mail unless it’s a very large order then I use FedEx. The padded flat rate envelope is now $10 to ship, but can hold quite a few small items. I use regional rate boxes a lot, and ship from WI. So if you’re anywhere in the midwest, that’s usually $8-$10. Any questions, email me!

Kaylaan toothpaste tabs, no fluoride:

tins, 90ct ea: 2x peppermint @ $12ea

4x 10ct samples blueberry $2ea

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Preserve:

2x 5 blade razor handle + 1 blade (1 in Neptune color, 1 gray) @$12.99

adult toothbrushes @$3.50ea, variety of colors: 12x soft, 6x medium

kids toothbrushes @$3.30ea, variety of colors: 15

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Mountain Rose Herbs:

1# red chili powder, roasted @$20.00

8.3oz Aloe Baby Wash @$8.00

2x tummy soother pastilles @$4.25ea

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Poofy Organics:

2x relaxation & balance support tincture (now discontinued, reduced price) @$20ea

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Rada Cutlery:

B304 Potluck spatula 2 pk @$8

S44, Pie Ala Mode gift set x2 – 1 unboxed (reduced price @$30)

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My deodorant & toothpaste is always available, just not offering at 20% off!

You can add anything in stock from Pure Play Kids! Shop Now (pureplaykids.com)

Collagen and Why I Choose Poofy Organics

I’m not an expert on collagen, but started using it after seeing others share the positive results they were seeing in their skin, nails and hair. At 42 my hair was increasingly getting thinner, so I was curious if collagen would help with that. And after I read all the other benefits it purports I knew it certainly wouldn’t hurt anything!

Some background info, from Poofy’s product description on the website (link is below): Collagen is a fibrous protein that serves as an important building foundation for skin, tendons, joints, other connective tissues and bones. Additionally, collagen helps keep skin, bones, teeth and blood vessels healthy. Dissolves in hot or cold beverages. Unflavored, grass fed and kosher. Collagen, the production of which declines as we age, adds many benefits to human health including: 
– Contains short chains of amino acids.
– Supporting bone repair
– Protection against or delaying symptoms associated with neurological disorders
– Repairing leaky gut
– Helping balance blood sugar
– Preventing joint pain

What else can collagen do?

  • RICH IN PROTEIN & AMINO ACIDS: Collagen naturally contains 18 essential amino acids and is packed with 7g of protein per serving
  • LOOK & FEEL YOUNGER: Decrease fine lines and wrinkles while mobilizing joints and cartilage
  • JOINTS, HAIR, SKIN, NAILS: Collagen proteins are different from other proteins. They’re vital for joint function and flexibility, muscle tone, energy and endurance, nail and hair growth, skin tone, digestion, liver function, wound healing, detoxification, natural sleep and much more!

Collagen has no reported “side effects”. Again, can’t hurt, YAY!!!!

My personal experience is this: As I mentioned above, my hair had really thinned down over the years. This was my 1st update after 4m of mostly daily use (I began in Nov 2021): I feel my nails are healthier, and my hair is growing more quickly and is healthier. I also was having issues with an achy elbow that I was *this* close to going to PT for, as it was nagging me for months, but just when I was about ready to go to the appt, it started feeling better (I had x-rays to rule out serious injury). I can’t be 100% certain this was due to the collagen, it’s correlatory, but it does have really beneficial properties for your joints, etc. And without any other intervention, it’s now healed. 2nd update (May 2022): It has now been 6m since I started almost daily use (I add a 2nd scoop if I have a 2nd cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon, maybe 3x/week) and I really, truly am happy with how thick my hair is. I feel like it has reversed ~5 years of loss/thinning. My nails are strong, my achy elbow has not returned, and I know it’s doing a bunch of good internally that I can’t necessarily measure.

I add it to my coffee or tea, cannot taste a thing. My Hubby had to do IT work in an ag-processing plant years ago, and is forever scarred of the smell associated with being there. They processed meat, made collagen and a bunch of other stuff. So he’s always had this fear of collagen tasting terrible, like the smell he associates with that place. He was super reluctant, but agreed after 1st try, couldn’t taste a thing. He takes it for the protein and because he’s super actively working out on a regular basis, lifting weights, working on building muscle mass, etc (in addition to his regular active daily stuff). He’s also aware of the need to keep his joints & bones healthy as he ages, and desires the positive gut health properties.

 If you prefer flavor, you may add in one of the USDA Certified Organic FLAVOR BURSTS. Flavors to choose from include: Birthday Cake, Caramel Swirl, Chocolate Milk & Fruit Punch. ($5 extra, flavors the 30 serving pack)

A few recent testimonials from my Poofy by Jess group:

Kristin:  I feel like the collagen has improved my digestion issues so I continue to take it daily. I also figure I can use all the anti-aging properties daily as well! It’s seriously the best one out there!

Shannon: I’ve added it to smoothies for the protein and it doesn’t have any taste or weird texture when added to things which I greatly appreciate.

Julianna: Some people say taking collagen supplements isn’t helpful but I’ve always noticed a huge difference! And I trust poofy to use good ingredients and practices in making it.

Ania: I am starting to love it as well! Using already a month and see a big difference. After giving birth 20 months ago my knees got very weak and many times, once I squat, I can’t stand up without supporting myself somehow. Initially thought it’s a temporary thing, postpartum related, but it become ongoing problem and my knees never really recovered nor got back to normal. Now, there are days that I forget I have knees at all! To be fully transparent I also take minerals from Fulvic & Humic Acid, but on its own they did not do much.

Poofy’s includes the following 5 TYPES OF COLLAGEN:
TYPE I: Anti-aging, skin elasticity, glowing skin & hydration, strong & shiny hair & nail growth, healthy digestion & gut health
TYPE II: Contains glucosamine & hyaluronic acid for healthy joints & stronger cartilage
TYPE III: Aids cardiovascular system & skin health
TYPE V: Supports joints & bones and healthy cartilage.
TYPE X: helps with new bone formation in cartilage

And while many of us have years of experience trusting Poofy products, you don’t *just* have to take my/their word that it’s the best out there. 3rd party testing is very important, and Poofy shares that info with us here: ReviveSpecSheet.pdf (poofyorganics.com)

Another potential issue is glyphosate (round-up) residue. It sneakily makes its way into SO many products these days. I 1st learned of the potential for collagen to contain glyphosate from a fellow group member who informed me of this: “since glyphosate residue is stored in bones and collagen. That is the reason why I stopped making bone broth.” She asked if Poofy’s had been tested and I was able to provide the fantastic information that it tested ND (Non Detect):

–Shipping is free over $70 (make sure that’s the subtotal after any discount).

–AND I offer an additional 5% rebate on all orders, all the time. If it’s your 1st ever order with me you can get 10% back on that order (then 5% on all subsequent)!

Link to collagen, and everything else from there: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/products/2034-revive-multi-collagen-protein-powder.aspx

I’d LOVE to hear from you with your experience, testimonials, and/or questions!

Kaylaan toothpaste tablet review

Crunch. Brush. Smile. I recently came across this New York based small business via a wholesale website I was browsing while looking for new eco-friendly and safe personal care products to offer to my March buying club. Many of us are on a plastic-free mission (as much as possible anyway) and toothpaste is 1 product that we all use daily (I hope). So, I thought I’d give it a trial offering, and I’m happy to report there was quite a bit of interest in it. I divided some of the 90 tablet tins into 10ct samples, and many took advantage of that.

So far I have tried: cinnamon, strawberry, watermelon and blueberry. I honestly have enjoyed them all very much. They pack a surprising amount of foamy punch in a small little tablet. Some in my group who have sampled them have actually said they’re too foamy, or at least that it will take some getting used to. Many of us have switched to toothpastes that don’t foam at all (such as my coconut oil-based option) so foam is a new sensation again! You do just simply pop the little tablet into your mouth, crunch it and it basically dissolves into a powder, and brush!

They offer several flavors in a 90ct tin ($12), as well as refill pouches, starter kits, bamboo toothbrushes and duos which save you a bit of money. You can get them with, or without, fluoride (I won’t get into that debate, I trust you to come to an informed decision on the topic yourself, we don’t use it in our house). Deepti, the owner, has been wonderful to work with and has offered great customer service, which is very important to me.

So many bad things came out of the pandemic of course. But 1 thing that I appreciate and admire is the inventiveness of people who took the plunge and created a new small business. Maybe something brand new entirely or accelerating something they already had initiated. This is the story of Kaylaan (from their website). The Whole World Is a Stage– From an early stage, we found ourselves deeply caring about the use of plastic and climate change. During the peak of the pandemic we accelerated our project, we combined our passion for the sustainable lifestyle that we were already living and created one simple product that is used by everyone in the world: Toothpaste. But not the commercial kind of toothpaste that you are familiar with, you know, the kind that is filled with all types of chemicals, packaged in single-use plastic which cannot be recycled and ultimately ends up in a landfill after use.

What does Kaylaan mean? It’s a Nepalese word that translates into: “Wishing you good health”.

  • Ingredients:
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Xylitol
  • Erythritol
  • Stevia
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
  • Magnesium Stearate

On the ingredients: 3 of them I use in my homemade paste as well (sodium bicarb (baking soda), calcium carb, and xylitol). Both xylitol and erythritol have known oral health benefits. I had to do a bit of research on sodium cocoyl isethionate as I wasn’t too familiar with it. About it: Sodium cocoyl isethionate is a surfactant based on fatty acids from coconut oil and isoethionic acid, a type of sulfonic acid. EWG rates it a 1. It is not expected to be an environmental toxin. It is classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful, nor is it suspected to be bioaccumulative. This ingredient is what gives it the foaming properties.

My husband and I are both enjoying it. And it’s definitely a very travel-friendly option! My kids don’t love it. I think they tried it once or twice. They said it has an after taste. And I do pick up a tiny bit of a soapy after taste. If you’ve ever tried tooth soap, it’s similar to that. But in my opinion, it’s very mild. I’m a huge fan of variety, so we have several options in my house. I think if it was the only option, my kids would use it without complaint. But I haven’t seen them reaching for it. I keep it in regular rotation with several flavors of my own, as well as Poofy Organics options.

I’d love to hear from those of you who’ve tried it and know how you’re liking it!

If you would like to order, here are some things to know:

— 100% Money-back Guarantee If our sustainable toothpaste tablets are not what you expected, get your money back!

–Almost 5000 trees planted: For every purchase, we join forces with Eden Reforestation Projects and we’ll plant a tree! Give yourself a good crunch & brush, because every single one of them matters!

–To shop: I have a 10% off coupon to offer! Deepti let me know they have an affiliate program. So if you plan on purchasing, please use my referral link and I earn 10% of your order: https://www.kaylaan.com/?ref=ecofriendlyusa. The coupon code to get 10% off your order is: JESSBRANDT.

And I do plan on offering these during my semi-annual Eco-friendly USA One-Stop Shop orders. The next one is in Sep. Here are the vendors/details for the most recently completed March order, to give you an idea: Eco-friendly USA One-Stop Shop | Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in USA (ecofriendlymamausa.com)

Thanks for reading!

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